Should Sergio Perez miss out on a Red Bull drive, expect to see him back on the grid a year later with the Mexican driver saying he “already has options” for 2022.
Perez is one of three drivers in the hunt for a 2021 Red Bull race seat alongside Max Verstappen.
Having been dropped by Racing Point in favour of signing Sebastian Vettel, Perez is now chasing Alex Albon’s seat with Nico Hulkenberg also in the running.
Although Perez won Sunday’s audition in Bahrain, ahead of the Thai-British racer before an engine failure four laps from the end handed the podium finish to Albon, Red Bull are insisting they’ll give Albon until the end of the season to secure his seat.
Should he succeed in doing that, Perez is facing a year on the sidelines with the 30-year-old saying there are no other series in which he wants to race.
And he plans to return to the Formula 1 in 2022 anyway.
“I already have options to return to F1 in 2022, so it would not be a problem,” Motorsport.com quotes him as having said.
“But what I want to do, I want to do 100 percent convinced, and today no other category catches my attention [for 2021].
“Surely a year will take you away from the competition a bit, but you have to take into account that the rules will change a lot in 2022.
“I think that would not affect me much. In the end, with the experience I have, I would return to F1 and within 200 laps, I would be at my level.
“We have seen this with other drivers who leave and return the following year.”
The father of two revealed he has been offered a reserve driver role with one of the “biggest teams” on the grid.
That, though, doesn’t appeal as it means being away from his family for 23 weekends without even racing.
“There is this possibility of being a reserve, and I have to discuss it,” Perez said.
“There’s a chance with one of F1’s biggest teams to be their reserve. But I am not very convinced that I would travel to all races as a reserve.
“There are 23 races, and I will be away from home, from my family, all the time without running.
“At this point in my career, I would not take it, but it is still under discussion that I can do fewer races. Whenever I am more clear about what will happen to my F1 career, we will talk about it.”