The 2020 season has been unexpected in many ways and it witnessed several changes in the new season’s line-up on the grid. One of the most unexpected ones have been Perez’ dismissal from his seat in Racing Point. He sadly learned about the possibility to leave the Circus by hearing about Sebastian Vettel’s becoming part of the newly born Aston Martin team through his hotel room’s walls but there was a new adventure waiting for him.
After nearly 12 years we will work together again, mate. Thank You Christian Horner for this great opportunity.— Sergio Pérez (@SChecoPerez) December 19, 2020
Helmut Marko, I’m very happy and thankful for the confidence placed in me, I’m going to work very hard to help this team to bring one more Championship #givesyouwings👐 pic.twitter.com/j2cJarBLon
The Mexican never gave up on his dream to stay in Formula 1 and he got several podium finishes and his maiden win at the race that could have been almost his last one. This definitely was not the only factor that helped him to be noticed by Red Bull, though. The Austrian team considered another aspect of his experience in Formula 1 to choose him over the other drivers that wanted to take that seat, first of all Alexander Albon.
Helmut Marko said that the key-factor in signing him for the 2021 season has been the Mexican vast knowledge about Mercedes’ engine.
"The first thing that spoke was the unbelievable form curve to which he has risen,- said Marko, while talking about all the reasons that helped in signing Perez- I think this has certainly been his best season ever since he's been in Formula 1. That's one thing. The other is: in the race he won, Russell didn't get significantly closer in the Mercedes despite having better tyres. To be able to judge that pace, to drive just fast enough to keep the opponent in check without overloading the tyres, he [Perez] has proved that very well in a couple of races. He also had bad luck a few times, for example when he retired in third place in Bahrain. And then there is the fact that he has driven many seasons with the Mercedes engine and knows about it driveability and responsiveness. All these things spoke for him. Hulkenberg was last with Renault. You probably can't use the three races he drove with the Mercedes engine, because he was more busy adjusting to the car than collecting data- he then added.
Then, Marko highlighted the expectations that weight upon the new Red Bull driver: - “Perez has to be within striking distance of Max in race trim. We will see in qualifying, as nobody has managed to reach his level yet. It may be a maximum of two tenths, something in the region - maybe even less. We need a strength as a team that we can fight against Mercedes with two drivers. I expect that we will be Mercedes' opponents again. If Bottas doesn't have such a bad day as in Bahrain, he fulfils his role very well. We expect the same from Perez."
In conclusion, Perez has a golden chance in his hands but he will have to work hard to make it worthy.