Perez's Mercedes knowledge a factor in Red Bull signing him

Red Bull says Sergio Perez's vast experience of the Mercedes Formula 1 engine was an important factor in it electing to sign the Mexican for next year.

Perez's Mercedes knowledge a factor in Red Bull signing him

Perez is to replace Alex Albon at Red Bull after the Milton Keynes-based outfit felt that his performances in the second half of 2020 were 'impossible' to ignore.

Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com about the reasons why Perez became the preferred choice, Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko explained that it was not all down to the former Racing Point driver's speed.

"The first thing that spoke was the unbelievable form curve to which he has risen," said Marko. "I think this has certainly been his best season ever since he's been in Formula 1. That's one thing.

"The other is: in the race he won, [George] Russell didn't get significantly closer in the Mercedes despite having better tyres.

"To be able to judge that pace, to drive just fast enough to keep the opponent in check without overloading the tyres, he [Perez] has proved that very well in a couple of races. He also had bad luck a few times, for example when he retired in third place in Bahrain.

"And then there is the fact that he has driven many seasons with the Mercedes engine and knows about it driveability and responsiveness. All these things spoke for him.

"[Nico] Hulkenberg was last with Renault. You probably can't use the three races he drove with the Mercedes engine, because he was more busy adjusting to the car than collecting data."

Read Also:

Marko said Red Bull felt that it needed to head in to 2021 with a stronger driver line-up to stave off the growing threats of teams like McLaren and Renault, but also to help disrupt Mercedes more.

"You have to assume that McLaren will make a step forward with the Mercedes engine, and that Renault and Ferrari will probably come on as well," he said.

"If you're five tenths behind in qualifying, you're not fourth, you're seventh or eighth. And that makes you worthless for the team in the sense that you can't be used for strategic games.

"In Abu Dhabi, Mercedes couldn't do anything [strategy wise], or only with a lot of risk. [Valtteri] Bottas would have been the one to put on soft tyres, but he would have fallen behind Albon and overtaking on the Abu Dhabi circuit is notoriously difficult.

"Because Albon drove a very good race and was very close to the Mercedes, they couldn't play their usual strategy. We want to be world champions again next year. So we need a strong pairing with whom we can pull out all the stops in terms of strategy as well."

Red Bull says it is not expecting Perez to come in to the team and regularly beat Verstappen, but it does want him to be within range of the Dutchman.

"Perez has to be within striking distance of Max in race trim," added Marko. "We'll see in qualifying, as nobody has managed to reach his level yet.

"It may be a maximum of two tenths, something in the region - maybe even less. We need a strength as a team that we can fight against Mercedes with two drivers.

"I expect that we will be Mercedes' opponents again. If Bottas doesn't have such a bad day as in Bahrain, he fulfils his role very well. We expect the same from Perez."

shares
comments

Related video

Fast-tracking upgrades key to McLaren F1 progress - Seidl

Previous article

Fast-tracking upgrades key to McLaren F1 progress - Seidl

Next article

F1 needs to become more driver dependent in 2022 - Sainz

F1 needs to become more driver dependent in 2022 - Sainz
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Sergio Perez
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Jonathan Noble
How F1's street track return can offer Verstappen redemption Prime

How F1's street track return can offer Verstappen redemption

Red Bull has failed to capitalise on having the best car in the opening rounds. BEN EDWARDS thinks change is around the corner.

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke Prime

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke

Pierre Gasly has driven superbly since demotion from Red Bull in 2019, but the team formerly known as Toro Rosso has come on strong too – building a car that can often challenge Ferrari and McLaren. Here Gasly reveals to ALEX KALINAUCKAS how AlphaTauri has given him the tools needed to rebuild his reputation

Formula 1
May 17, 2021
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Prime

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to Stuart Codling, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion.

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021