In the past two years, Red Bull have not had great luck with their choice of second drivers behind Max Verstappen.
In 2019, they parted ways with Pierre Gasly mid-season and traded him for Alexander Albon, whose time at Red Bull is history again since December 2020. With the arrival of Sergio Perez, a driver with ten years of F1 experience, the team is now hoping to build on the success it has enjoyed recently with the Verstappen/Ricciardo driver duo. Because since Daniel Ricciardo moved to Renault at the end of 2018, only Verstappen has taken wins for Red Bull.
While team boss Christian Horner admits Perez will struggle to keep up with Verstappen straight away in 2021 due to limited pre-season testing time, still, the Brit has big demands for the new Red Bull duo of Verstappen/Perez, which for the first time since 2007 features a driver who has not progressed from Red Bull’s junior programme.
“It’s going to be very difficult to get your head around in just one test,” said Horner. “But he has the advantage of having a lot of experience and of course we expect him to be close to Max and challenge him – as we had with Daniel and Max for three seasons. So hopefully Sergio can play a really important role for the team in getting both cars close to the Mercedes on a consistent basis.”
Because that’s exactly why Perez was brought in – to make sure Red Bull has two cars in 2021 that can challenge or beat the Mercedes drivers on a regular basis.