Horner on What ‘Earned’ Sergio Perez Red Bull Seat Alongside Verstappen

Sergio Perez is riding on a high tide. He had the best season of his illustrious F1 career in 2020 which culminated in a maiden race win in Sakhir. Though Racing Point tainted it at the start by ending his three-year contract, he is now landing back on his feet with Red Bull.

Red Bull is not a team that likes to have drivers outside of its own talent pool. This time too, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner wished to give Alex Albon the entire season in the car to find his feet.

When Sergio Perez became a contender for the Red Bull seat

So, they waited until the end of 2020 to evaluate all the data, eventually concluding that Perez performed better than Albon.

NUERBURG, GERMANY – OCTOBER 11: Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner and Red Bull Racing Team Consultant Dr Helmut Marko talk on the grid before the F1 Eifel Grand Prix at Nuerburgring in Nuerburg, Germany. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

“Looking at the delta between our two drivers and given Sergio’s strong performances, particularly in the second half of the year, we made the decision that Sergio had earned the 2021 seat,” said Horner.

Horner hopes to ‘take the fight to Mercedes’

With this, the Team Principal hopes they can consistently compete with the dominant Mercedes next season. Aside from Max, the second car has not consistently performed to their expectations set by Ricciardo, before he left in 2018.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace

So, with Perez, they wish to make that right. The Mexican is now a veteran of 10 seasons with almost 200 races under his best. Though qualifying isn’t his greatest asset, he comes alive in the race with his supreme tire-management skills.

This leaver Horner optimistic for next season. “We need to field the strongest team possible in order to take the fight to Mercedes. Sergio’s experience will be crucial next season and we look forward to welcoming him to the Team,” he added.

Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Racing Point’s Sergio Perez celebrates on the podium with the trophy after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Tolga Bozoglu

However, it will take more than a change in drivers for Red Bull to truly knock Mercedes off their perch, whose engine is still class-leading, along with star driver Lewis Hamilton, who is considered the ‘G.O.A.T’ by many.

Red Bull will need to come out all guns blazing in 2021, and deflecting from their rigid driver recruitment program is a start.

READ MORE – ‘Knowledge About Mercedes’: Marko Reveals Reasons Behind Picking Sergio Perez to Partner Verstappen at Red Bull