Sergio Perez’s 2021 picture is “getting clearer” and, according to the Sakhir GP race winner, it won’t involve a Red Bull call up.
Perez is one of three drivers in line to partner Max Verstappen in next year’s championship, the list including Alex Albon and Nico Hulkenberg.
Perez is winning the auditions against Albon week in and week out, taking two podiums in the last three races, the second of which was courtesy of his maiden grand prix victory at Sunday night’s Sakhir GP.
That race win not only put Perez up into fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship but has pundits saying there is “no competitive justification” for Red Bull to hold onto Albon.
Perez, though, thinks they will.
Asked if he is expecting a Red Bull call up, he told Sky F1: “No, I don’t think [so] to be honest. My picture is getting clearer.
“If I am not on the grid next year, I already have options to come back in ‘22.
“So I am at peace with myself.
“If I have to leave here, I am more than committed to doing so but then I am more determined than ever to be back for 2022.
“This is because I believe this is the place I need to be.
“I’m only 30 years old so I’ve got my best years ahead of me and I’m determined to come back strong.
“As I said before, it’s not fully up to me what happens but I’m in a nice place.
“I can definitely take a year out, I can be here next year.
“I don’t know what is going to happen but I will certainly know in the coming weeks.
“If anything, I’m just at peace with myself for what’s coming in my future.”
A roller coaster ride of a race for @SChecoPerez 👀
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 7, 2020
Perez has already stated that if he doesn’t get the Red Bull drive, he will take a year away from racing.
Not only is he not interested in driving in another series, but he also doesn’t see himself as a reserve driver, away from his family for 23 weekends but only sitting at the back of a garage.
“We haven’t gone into too much detail with it, it’s just an option, but it’s not my priority,” he is quoted by Crash.net.
“I think we have to figure out in case we get into that how we can make it work, because as I said I don’t want to be going to all the races if I’m not driving.
“It’s a hard one, obviously, the team needs to get a driver there, so probably I’m not the right person for it but we will see.”