Sergio Perez says Red Bull’s very late decision on their 2021 drivers means it’s looking more likely that he won’t be on the 2021 grid.
The Mexican driver currently sits P6 in the Drivers’ Championship having scored points in every race he has entered in 2020, but that wasn’t enough for Racing Point to retain Perez for 2021 when the team will transform into Aston Martin.
Instead, Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel will be Aston Martin’s drivers for 2021.
Perez told reporters ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix that “until the teams announce the driver, everything is an option”, and the biggest seat available to Perez is at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen.
However, despite Alex Albon’s wretched run of form, Red Bull are now going to give him until the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to save his seat for 2021.
And this means that Perez is preparing for the possibility that he will have to take a “sabbatical” for 2021.
“We are not that far from the season to end, so definitely I have to know my plans, I need to know what will happen in my side to be able to plan everything,” he said.
“It’s happening now too late, we’re already close to December, so there is not a lot more to be had in that regard.
“Everything is so late now, it looks like I will know whether I continue in Formula 1 or not quite late in the year. So I think a sabbatical, it’s an option. We’ll see what what happens in the next couple of weeks.
“I’ll either be in the car next year in Formula 1, or on the couch at home, so I will find out very late in the year. There are not a lot of options anymore.”
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Perez, along with Nico Hulkenberg, are thought to be the main contenders for the second Red Bull seat for 2021, though the Austrian company remain desperate to keep their record intact of using their homegrown drivers, meaning Albon is being given as much time as possible to turn his situation around.
If Perez was to miss out on a Red Bull seat then it would be almost certain that he wouldn’t be on the grid next year. Perez has said already he would not be interested in racing at the back of the grid again having waited so long to have a competitive car in the form of the Racing Point RP20.
It’s believed that Verstappen would prefer Hulkenberg alongside him for 2021 though, with the pair having a good relationship.