Red Bull took the bold step of venturing outside of their academy and hiring a driver from the external market. The last time that happened was in 2007 when they decided to recruit Mark Webber from Williams.
This time, for the 2021 season, the Austrian outfit has gone forward with Sergio Perez as Max Verstappen’s teammate. It undoubtedly brought joy to the team’s fans as many believed that a driver of Perez’s caliber deserved to stay in the sport.
Although the move was officially announced on Friday, there is a genuine possibility that the decision happened much before that. So what were a few of these signs that suggest the same?
Red Bull might have informed Sergio Perez of their decision much before last Friday
F1 journalist Christian Nimmervoll states in his report, “Anyone who has ever been lucky enough to have stayed in the posh W Hotel in Abu Dhabi (formerly Yas Viceroy) will recognize from the curtain in the background that the picture must have been taken there.”
“Horner said on Friday, however, that both Perez and Alexander Albon were informed “today”, which of course is in stark contrast to the timeline puzzle that can be put together through social media.
“Unless you only took the three-person photo in the W Hotel because you just happened to run into each other …” (translated from Google Translate)
In an earlier post from Perez’s Instagram, he was seen exchanging helmets with his successor, Sebastian Vettel. And Nimmervoll interestingly also points out that Perez is wearing the exact same clothes as he did when he appeared in Horner’s photo.
“Also exciting: Perez himself shared a photo on Instagram on December 14th, the Monday after the season finale, showing his helmet exchange with his Racing Point successor Sebastian Vettel.”
“Obviously it also takes place in the W Hotel. And Perez wears exactly the same clothes as in the photo that Horner published four days later.” (translated from Google Translate)
Perez will look forward to making the best out of this opportunity at a top team
Regardless of when the decision was made, Perez will now race for Red Bull Racing in 2021. This move most certainly adds steel to their drivers’ lineup. And they will now aim to take the fight to Mercedes.
Perez had a solid season, by far the best in his career, securing a podium and race win this year. And naturally, his focus will lie on increasing that tally when he takes to the wheel of the RB17 next year.