After seven seasons at Force India – then re-branded into Racing Point, and now Aston Martin – the Mexican Sergio Perez joined Red Bull on a one-year contract for the 2021 season.
Red Bull is not famous for being patient with their drivers struggling to get proper performance. Indeed, after seeing both Albon and Pierre Gasly struggle alongside Verstappen has led to hints he will remain beyond the end of the season.
Six races into the season, the 31-year-old driver has already proven his worth, delivering solid results including a win in Azerbaijan and a third-place ahead of Valtteri Bottas in France.
Perez is probably already sensing a contract extension beyond the current campaign, yet he believes right now it’s not the perfect timing.
“Right now, we are so busy with the races, three-in-a-row, but there will be some downtime where we can speak about it,” Perez said, during the drivers’ press conference ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix.
“Hopefully, it doesn’t take too long, because I don’t have a good experience when you take that long”
Perez was clearly alluding to his experience with Force India and Racing Point, which ended abruptly with a shock announcement in September 2020, after Sebastian Vettel was hired to replace him. Hence, he hopes to open contract negotiations as soon as possible, so they can “take it out of the season and focus on the right stuff”.
Red Bull’s faith in Sergio Perez is currently being well repaid. In fact, Perez played a central role in helping Max Verstappen win last Sunday’s French GP and avoiding Mercedes from splitting its strategies.
Moreover, the Mexican currently sits third in the drivers’ championship with 84 points after seven races this year. By comparison, Albon scored 105 points across the entire 17-round last season.
Current Championship’s leader Max Verstappen is getting on well with Perez and would be happy to see him continue at Red Bull.
“Everything is going really well,” Verstappen said. “Of course I knew Checo before, but not as a teammate. So of course it’s always a little bit different.
“So far, it’s been great, to be able to now work together upfront, to get the best results for the team, is what you want. For sure, I would want that to continue.
“He’s a great teammate, and we can have a lot of fun.”
Red Bull have a 37-point lead over Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship and the Dutchman – who has a multi-year contract till the end of 2023 – believes Perez’s presence, along with the competitive RB16B, is going to be crucial in ensuring they have a chance to fight for both titles this season.
“Now, we have the car to really fight them [Mercedes], then, of course, it’s super important to be up there with two cars, and that’s exactly what we have been doing now, in Baku and Paul Ricard.
“It’s going to be crucial for the constructors’ as well to keep this up until the end of the year,” the Dutchman concluded.