Perez will take sabbatical if Red Bull drive doesn't materialise


Sergio Perez says he will take a year out of Formula 1 if he does not get a Red Bull drive for the 2021 season

Sergio Perez, 2020 Turkish GP

Perez says it's Red Bull or nothing for 2021

Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

Sergio Perez says he will take a sabbatical from racing if a Formula 1 drive with Red Bull doesn’t open up for the 2021 season.

The Mexican is currently without a drive for next year after Sebastian Vettel’s move from Ferrari to replace him as Racing Point becomes Aston Martin from ’21, and it could mean he takes a step away from racing altogether.

Alexander Albon currently occupies the second seat at Red Bull but has struggled throughout 2020 to get close to team-mate Max Verstappen. Since a maiden podium at the Tuscan GP, the Anglo-Thai driver has finished in the points on just two occassions, leading to rumours of a demotion back to AlphaTauri.

Ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Perez made it clear that a seat alongside Verstappen was the only tempting drive to him for next season, and should that space not open up for him, a stint away from the sport would be likely.

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“There’s only one option, I’ve said it before. I’ve been here so many years. I want to keep going. I think I’m at the peak of my career, but also want to keep going with a reason, with a plan, with a good project,” he said in the pre-race press conference.

“Right now we’re just waiting on the decision, what they [Red Bull] decide to do, so that’s out of my hands.”

Since losing his current drive, Perez has made clear that he is eager to step up to a top team once more following his early call-up to McLaren back in 2013 ending with a drop back down the order to Force India.

He equalled his career-best finish last time out in Turkey, finishing second and scoring the ninth podium finish of his career. Perez currently sits in fourth place in the drivers’ standings, behind the two Mercedes drivers and Verstappen and is 30 points ahead of Albon down in 9th.

“I’m just approaching these three races as usual, focus on the job, keep delivering, and the rest is out of my hands.

“Most drivers, they retire and after six months they want to do whatever is available. So I have to see. I’ve never experienced that.

“I think if I don’t have Formula 1 next year I don’t see myself doing anything else.”