The Formula One silly season is drawing to a close as Red Bull racing finally confirms that Sergio Perez will be taking the seat next to Max Verstappen for 2021. Meanwhile, Alex Albon will not be demoted to Alpha Tauri, but will instead stay with the team to act as a reserve and test driver for Red Bull.
Perez will be relieved to have been given the opportunity to stay in Formula 1, after having lost his seat in Racing Point (Aston Martin) to multiple world champion Sebastian Vettel. After a string of impressive finishes in 2020 including his maiden Grand Prix victory in Sakhir, Perez was able to prove that he deserves a seat in F1 next year. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner jumped at the opportunity to give Perez a car where he can show off more of what he can do in 2021.
Alex Albon, who served as Max Verstappen's Red Bull team mate in 2020, was under a lot of pressure throughout the season. He faced a lot of criticism for being too far behind Verstappen in a majority of races this season. As such, the Dutchman was left vulnerable at the top as he tried to serve up a challenge against the Mercedes drivers.
With his victory in the final race of the season, Verstappen is ready to face the competition in 2021. It remains to be seen if Perez will be there to support him, or if Perez will be there to challenge his role as Red Bull's top driver.
Albon did not have the opportunity to fall back to Alpha Tauri since both seats in Red Bull's "sister" team had already been filled earlier with the retention of Pierre Gasly and the confirmation of Japanese young gun Yuki Tsunoda. Red Bull decided to keep him in the team as a reserve driver, with another opportunity perhaps waiting for him in the future.
"Alex is a valued member of the Team and we thought long and hard about this decision," said Christian 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,"