Since the turbo-hybrid era of Formula 1 began, Mercedes' dominance has been as clear as the vain efforts of Ferrari and Red Bull to get closer and compete for the championships.
For the latter, the internal dilemma of finding the perfect teammate for Max Verstappen since Daniel Ricciardo decided to leave the team has been resolved between the promotion of Pierre Gasly and then that one of Alexander Albon from the “junior” Alpha Tauri team, both failing.
Now, Red Bull has put faith in Sergio Perez, choosing his experience and proven talent from among youth and potential, as Red Bull will try to fuel the championship fight in 2021, keeping both cars on top of the competition.
Christian Horner spoke about the topic in an interview for this week's Autosport magazine, and how he thinks the new preseason test format will not be favorable for drivers who must adapt to a new team this year, including his own. However, he is adamant that Red Bull will regain leadership as in Daniel Ricciardo's seasons with the team, now with Checo.
"It'll be very difficult to get himself up to speed in just one test, straightaway."
"But he has the benefit of a lot of experience and, of course, we are expecting him to be close to Max and challenging - in a way that we had with Daniel Ricciardo and Max for three seasons.” Horner told Autosport.
Now with the objective to put up competition and fight more directly with Mercedes, the team relies on Pérez to get the most out of a car capable of winning races and in him to complement positively with a teammate who is always fighting upfront.
"So, hopefully, Sergio can play a real, really important role for the team in getting both cars, on a consistent basis, near to the Mercedes."
Horner also spoke about how he expects the Pérez-Verstappen pair to be ideal, thanks to how the 23-year-old Dutchman has become one of the best drivers since his promotion to the team in 2016.
"I think he's matured enormously over the last few years. And I think what he's extracted from the car in the last couple years has been truly impressive.
"In a car that hasn't been as good as the Mercedes [and] to have won five races in the last two years with Honda power [as well], I think he's done a fantastic job. And we just as a team needs to be able to do that on a more consistent basis over the course of a 23-race season."
Red Bull is yet to announce the date of the car reveal for the 2021 season.
All of us waiting for the season to start... ⏳ pic.twitter.com/3qBOahCRUr— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) February 13, 2021