On December 18, 2020, Sergio Perez‘s wildest dreams came true. After toiling it out in mid-field for several years, he finally got a chance to compete at the front of the grid. For the 2021 season, he will partner Max Verstappen at Red Bull.
However, being teammates in F1 has whole another meaning to it. While in other sports, it signifies an inter-dependency on each other for success, in F1, it is quite the opposite. Since it is heavily dependent on machinery, a teammate is an accurate barometer for judging an individual’s performance.
Checo secured his Red Bull seat partly by outclassing his teammate Lance Stroll. However, in the form of Max Verstappen, he will face a different force altogether next season. Pigs will have to fly for him to outscore the ‘Flying Dutchman.’
So, why did Red Bull hire him? What value can he realistically provide to the team in 2021?
To be the perfect sidekick to Max Verstappen
The Austrian outfit, first and foremost, want him to supplement Max well next season. Unlike Alex Albon, who was languishing in the mid-field for a considerable part of the season while Max was butting head with the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.
And that proved to be the Thai driver’s undoing. He left Max exposed. The ‘Silver Arrows’ had the option to play around with different strategies and launch an assault for the win.
So, Red Bull expect to hit them back in 2021. They hope Perez will prove to be an able sidekick for Max; the Robin to his Batman, the Bottas to his Hamilton.
“If we also want to aim for the constructors’ championship, we need a strong man in the second car.”
Help them level up with Mercedes on the engine department
Christian Horner & Co. have made it clear as a day that his experience about their rivals’ power unit enticed them to go with Perez. Mercedes’ engine have been class-leading in the turbo-hybrid era and they hope to emulate them.
“Sergio brings a lot of knowledge about Mercedes with him. After they quit him at Racing Point, he was obviously very attentive to everything Mercedes did. We hope for a lot of input from this side.”
Overall, this interim solution looks to be a more promising one for Red Bull. They have failed in their quest to truly replace Daniel Ricciardo, and hopefully, Perez will fill that void.