Sergio Perez will replace Alex Albon to become teammates with Max Verstappen for the 2021 Formula 1 season, Red Bull has announced.

Perez, who was out of contract and faced the very real possibility of having to take a sabbatical for next season after being dropped at Racing Point in favour of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, has now secured a front-running drive at Red Bull.

The announcement concluded a long-running saga of uncertainty over who would be Verstappen’s teammate for 2021, with Albon’s position coming under threat amid a difficult first full-season at Red Bull.

 

 

Despite claiming two podiums, Albon was overwhelmingly outperformed by Verstappen. The Dutchman finished third in the championship, while Albon took seventh, scoring 109 points less than his teammate, who also pulled off a qualifying whitewash of 17-0 in the head-to-heads.

Albon said he was proud of his performances towards the end to the season, while Red Bull team principal Christian Horner had described the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Albon's “strongest race weekend” of the year. 

The British-born Thai driver will be demoted to reserve driver for Red Bull in 2021. 

In contrast, Perez has enjoyed an outstanding campaign for Racing Point. The Mexican followed up a second-place finish in Turkey with a stunning long-awaited maiden win in his 190th race start at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Perez ended the year fourth in the drivers’ standings with 125 despite missing both races at Silverstone when he contracted COVID-19.

With his late deal to seal the final seat on the grid for next season, Perez will get his second opportunity to race for one of F1’s top teams following an unsuccessful year-long spell at McLaren back in 2013.

Red Bull finished as distant runners-up to the dominant Mercedes squad in the 2020 constructors' championship.

 

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