Sergio Perez has revealed that Racing Point told him he wouldn’t be staying for 2021 the day before the announcement was made.
The team, soon to be known as Aston Martin, announced on Wednesday night that Sebastian Vettel would drive for them in 2021. Shortly beforehand, Perez had confirmed that he was to leave.
The rumours of such a move had been gathering ever since Ferrari opted not to retain Vettel for next year. However, whenever asked about them, Perez remained adamant there was no truth to them.
It makes sense that he believed this considering he has now confirmed that the team only told him of their plans the day before publicly revealing Vettel.
“I got a call from Lawrence,” Perez told reporters at Mugello.
“He called me yesterday, that they were going into another direction.”
Tengo algo que anunciarles…
¡Gracias por su apoyo todo este tiempo!
— Sergio Pérez (@SChecoPerez) September 9, 2020
Less than a month ago, Checo stated that he was confident he was going to retain his seat for 2021 and expected the Vettel rumours to die down.
“At the moment everything is looking as if we’re going to carry on with the team, so we’ll see,” he told Sky at the time.
“The feedback I’ve got from the team is we are going to carry on. I believe it’s just a matter of time before those [Vettel] rumours can go away.”
He says that those comments were based on what he had been told by Racing Point and what he was led to believe at the time.
“That was the feedback that I was getting, that everything was looking that the team wanted to keep me and so on,” he added.
“There were some discussions in the background about contracts and so on that I’m not willing to disclose because I think those things should remain between the team and myself. There were a couple of things in the contract that we went through.
“In the end, they just officially told me yesterday that I am not continuing. I didn’t expect that. But it’s how it is.”
At the age of 30, and with available seats few and far between, many expect Perez to leave F1 altogether. However, he’s eager to stick around.
“My main target is to remain in F1. I feel that I’m still very young and hungry, and want to carry on in Formula 1,” he said.
“But it has to be the right package. A package that really gives me the maximum motivation to give my 100% every single lap.
“It’s also got to be a long-term project, targeting 2022, because there I expect the rule change to play a major effect. That’s the main reason that I want to continue for ’22, because I feel there are plenty of opportunities.