Red Bull Racing late last week signed Sergio Perez as a driver for the 2021 Formula One World Championship.
Perez had been looking for a new seat since September when his current team, Racing Point, announced he would be replaced by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in 2021. Racing Point will also be rebranded Aston Martin for the new season.
At Red Bull, Perez will replace Alexander Albon who will stick with the team as test and reserve driver for the new season. Red Bull’s other driver for the new season will be Max Verstappen.
Red Bull has signed Perez for only the one season, announcing in its statement that it was impressed with the Mexican driver’s recent string of strong performances. Perez celebrated his maiden F1 win two weeks ago at the Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain, a race in which he dropped as low as 17th at point. Perez also managed to finish fourth in the 2020 Drivers’ Championship.
He’s also proven a consistent performer. He first joined the sport in 2011 with Sauber, and over the years has managed 10 podium finishes, plus the recent victory, despite never driving a top-level car.
“The chance to race for a championship-contending team is something I have been hoping for since I joined Formula One and it will be a proud moment to step onto the grid in Red Bull colors alongside Max,” Perez said in a statement.
There had been rumblings since the middle of the year that Red Bull was considering replacing Albon for the 2021 season. The Thai driver finished eighth in the Drivers’ standings in 2019 and only improved to seventh this year.
Looking ahead to 2021, there are plenty of additional changes to the driver lineups. Recall, Fernando Alonso is set to return to Renault which will be rebranded Alpine. The double world champion is set to replace Daniel Ricciardo who is moving to McLaren as the replacement for Carlos Sainz who in turn is replacing Vettel at Ferrari. In addition, Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher are set to replace Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen at Haas, while Yuki Tsunoda is set to replace Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull feeder team AlphaTauri.
The final seat still pending is Lewis Hamilton’s at Mercedes-Benz AMG, though the recently crowned world champion is almost certain to retain it given his consistent top performance over the years.