It is F1’s worst kept secret but Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez will join Red Bull Racing from 2021 – replacing now-reserve driver Alexander Albon in the second seat.
For the first time a non-academy racer has been signed to the team since 2007 when Australian Mark Webber joined.
However, Perez’s performances throughout the 2020 season have been hard to ignore, and for Red Bull, a team who have been looking to defeat Mercedes in both Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships in recent seasons, those performances have led to this call being made.
Ever since it was announced by Aston Martin Racing (nee Racing Point) that Checo would be out of a seat in season 2021, he has effectively been racing for his Formula 1 career, and the form that he started to show since that announcement has reflected his desire to remain on the grid.
When announced, Perez said he looked forward to the challenge.
“The chance to race for a championship contending team is something I have been hoping for since I joined F1 and it will be a proud moment to step onto the grid in Red Bull colours.”Sergio Perez
Once the announcement was made, Perez had nine races to attempt to convince teams who still had a vacant seat that he was the right man for the job, and he more then showed that he is more than capable.
He scored multiple sixth placed finishes, one podium, multiple DNF’s (1 costing him a podium in Bahrain) and the unforgettable race win in Sakhir.
After that race win in Sakhir, Perez went onto Sky and famously said he would not give up.
“If I’m not on the grid next year, I already have options to come back for 2022, I am at peace with myself.”Sergio Perez
Alexander Albon, who unfortunately after an inconsistent season at Red Bull, in which he achieved his maiden F1 podium and seemed to show glimpses of talent will drop to the role of reserve driver for 2021.
He did everything he could, finishing the year off with a P4 finish at the Yas Marina. But it was a case of too little, too late.
“Alex remains an important part of our team as Test and Reserve Driver with a key focus on 2022 development.”Christian Horner – Red Bull Racing Team Principal
The role of being a second driver at Red Bull Racing recently has semmingly become a poisoned chalice.
Its last three second drivers, the aforementioned Albon, Pierre Gasly, and Daniil Kvyat all seeming pushed aside in favour of another driver.