Mexican driver Sergio Perez will replace Alexander Albon at Red Bull next season, Formula 1 roster announced Friday. Perez, who no longer had a contract with Racing Point, will race alongside Max Verstappen for the Milton-based team Keynes in 2021. The popular driver got into the frame to replace inconsistent Albon with a first-ever F1 win in the 190th attempt. to Sakhir in Bahrain in the penultimate race of the season just ended. “The chance to race for a championship-contested team is something I have been hoping for since joining Formula One and it will be a proud moment to step onto the grid in Red Bull colors alongside Max “said Perez.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner felt they had chosen the perfect partner for Verstappen.
“After taking our time to assess all the relevant data and performance, we have decided that Sergio is the right driver to partner with Max for 2021.”
Albon has enjoyed a full top-down first season in the role, but Horner has said the London-born Thai will remain a valuable part of the Red Bull setup.
“Alex remains an important part of our team as a test and reserve pilot with a key focus on 2022 development and we would like to thank him for his hard work and contribution,” he said.
Before Red Bull’s call, Perez was eyeing a season after his seat at Racing Point was handed over to Sebastian Vettel, the quadruple former world champion abandoned by Ferrari.
He had said his tearful farewell to Racing Point after retiring from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which ended last weekend.
Albon had finished fourth in Sunday’s race, won by Perez’s new teammate Verstappen with a light flag victory in the first Red Bull.
Perez said after the race: “Who knows what’s going to happen next? I just can’t wait to get home. Either way, I’ll be ready for it.”
Five days later and with his 2021 future secure, he vowed: “You can be sure that I will give my full attention next season.
“The team has the same winning mentality as I do and I know I’m here to perform and help the team fight for another title.”
The week before Yas Marina, the 30-year-old Mexican had risen from last position, after a first-lap collision, to a memorable podium alongside Renault’s Esteban Ocon and his Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll.
His success made him cry in his cockpit at the end of his penultimate race with Racing Point, and at the same time caught the attention of the Red Bull garage.
Friday’s statement from his new employers noted: “Sergio made his Grand Prix debut in 2011 and since then he has grown into one of the most consistent players and tenacious runners in the sport.
“Sergio’s recent streak of form and Sakhir’s Grand Prix victory made him the preferred choice to join Red Bull Racing, initially on a one-year contract.”
Perez’s welcome job offer comes as Lewis Hamilton is set to put pen to paper on a new deal with Mercedes.
Mercedes has all but confirmed that their seven-time world champion will drive for them next season on Thursday.
A post on the team’s official Twitter account had the hashtag “announce” along with emojis “coming soon” and “pen,” as well as a quote from Hamilton expressing his desire to stay with Mercedes.
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