Formula 1: The key reason Red Bull went with Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Formula 1 (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)
Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Formula 1 (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images) /

One key reason why Red Bull went with Sergio Perez to pair alongside Max Verstappen for the 2021 Formula 1 season was his Mercedes knowledge.

In their pursuit of dethroning seven-time reigning world champions Mercedes in the 2021 Formula 1 season, Red Bull made the decision to hire from outside their own program for the first time since 2007.

They Sergio Perez, who has been replaced by four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel at Racing Point (Aston Martin) next year, to replace Alexander Albon and compete alongside Max Verstappen.

This decision came down to quite a few factors, namely the success Perez had in 2020 with Racing Point and Albon’s inability to run with his teammate and most importantly serve as a viable second threat to the Silver Arrows on any given weekend.

But one key factor involved was Perez’s knowledge of Mercedes.

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The 30-year-old Mexican has competed in Formula 1 since 2011, and he has driven a Mercedes-powered car since 2013 when he competed for McLaren before moving to Force India.

Nico Hulkenberg, who was also rumored as a potential replacement candidate for Albon after being on standby for him at the Nurburgring for the Eifel Grand Prix due to an inconclusive test for COVID-19, could not bring that knowledge despite spending three race weekends with the Mercedes-powered Racing Point replacing Perez and Lance Stroll throughout 2020.

Here is what Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko had to say about the matter, according to Motorsport.

"“There is the fact that he has driven many seasons with the Mercedes engine and knows about it driveability and responsiveness. All these things spoke for him. Hulkenberg was last with Renault. You probably can’t use the three races he drove with the Mercedes engine, because he was more busy adjusting to the car than collecting data.”"

Notably, Red Bull engine supplier Honda will be leaving Formula 1 after the 2021 season, and the Milton Keynes-based team may look to take over their project for 2022 and beyond.

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Perez is set to make his Red Bull debut on Sunday, March 21, 2021 in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit.