Sunday, December 20, 2020

Perez’s Plum 2021 Ride: Checo Joins Red Bull Racing

Photo Credit: Zak Mauger/LAT Images/Pirelli

Sometimes in life, there could be a moment that rewards you with the sensation of overcoming your struggles, criticism and doubts. 30-year-old Mexican Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez concluded a long stint with a team where he spent a large portion of his 10-year career in the sport facing uncertainty in regards to his 2021 racing plans. Perez was informed he would be forced to vacant his Racing Point ride in favour for four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel at the end of the 2020. While facing grim career prospects ahead of 2021, Sergio Perez’s final races of the 17-race season caused the motorsport world to see him in a new light. More than a likable, sympathetic regular competitor, the Mexican transformed into a Formula 1 winner with his masterful drive in the Sakhir Grand Prix. The newfound brightness shining upon Perez has brought forth a coveted ride with Red Bull Racing for the 2021 season. 

Making the driver announcement on Friday, December 18th, Red Bull Racing welcomes Sergio Perez to their organization as a veteran partner alongside Max Verstappen next year. Joining the energy drink-backed squad through what is currently slated as a one-year contract, Perez is anxious to be part the race team that was the 2020 season’s runner-up in the Formula 1 World Constructors’ Championship. “The team has the same winning mentality as me and I know I am here to perform and help the team fight for another title” said Perez on the Red Bull Racing team’s website. 

While Sergio Perez won his first Formula 1 event with the emerging Racing Point team, the driver’s ride at Red Bull Racing in a Honda-powered race car had the signs of becoming the first chance for the Mexican to be backed with proven top-contending equipment. Entering the series in 2011 with Sauber (now existing as Alfa Romeo Racing), Perez brought sponsorship to a team that restructured one-year before after BMW dropped involvement in Formula 1. In 2013 when Lewis Hamilton’s former spot at McLaren Racing opened, Sergio Perez joined a renowned team at the wrong time. The Mexican was dropped from McLaren after only one season in favour for Kevin Magnussen leading him to Force India. 

Sergio Perez’s stint with Force India started in 2014 and remained with the team as it was purchased by the Lawrence Stroll-led consortium and became Racing Point. Through the several seasons, Perez expressed a strong amount of confidence with the team. “I’ve seen the progress we’ve made over last couple of years and I’m sure we have the potential to achieve even more going forward.” Perez said in October of 2016 as he chose to stay with what was then the Sahara Force India team through the 2017 season. In 2020, Perez’s final season with Racing Point consisted of point finishes in all-but four races (two missed due to testing positive for COVID-19 and two for power unit failures). Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner commented that the decision to add Sergio Perez to their group was largely based on 2020 performance results.

Red Bull Racing’s 2021 driver lineup announcement places the Thai driver Alexander Albon will be out of active competition. Scoring two podium results in 2020, Albon’s first full season in Formula 1 was less consistent than the efforts of his teammate Max Verstappen. Positioned in the test and reserve driver role for 2021, Red Bull Racing continues to express support for their 24-year-old driver describing him as an important member of their team. Alexander Albon’s duties will include aiding Red Bull Racing in the development of the 2022 race car.  

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