Red Bull has confirmed that Sergio Perez will partner Max Verstappen at the team for the 2021 Formula 1 season, with Alexander Albon stepping back into a reserve driver role.
The Mexican put together his best season to date in 2020, finishing fourth in the drivers’ standings and claiming his maiden F1 win at the Sakhir Grand Prix having been last at the end of lap one.
Following the announcement that Sebastian Vettel would move to Racing Point in Perez’s place, his F1 future had been up in the air, with the Red Bull seat the only realistic option on the grid left.
Alex Albon had until the end of the season to prove himself; team principal Christian Horner saying, “We’re giving him all the support we possibly can”. But he continued to fall well short of his team-mate, qualifying on average 0.686sec slower than Verstappen, with an average finishing position of 7th — five places lower than Verstappen.
“Alex is a valued member of the Team and we thought long and hard about this decision,” said Horner. “Having taken our time to evaluate all the relevant data and performances we have decided that Sergio is the right driver to partner Max for 2021 and look forward to welcoming him to Red Bull Racing.
“Alex remains an important part of our Team as Test and Reserve Driver with a key focus on 2022 development and we would like to thank him for his hard work and contribution.”
Perez’s switch to Red Bull is his second chance with a top team in F1 following a one-year stint with McLaren in 2013.