Why Red Bull should consider Sergio Perez for next season
An unlikely switch which could play out beautifully for Red Bull.
The standard route for any driver who makes it into a Red Bull seat is to first drive for their 'sister' team Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri). Every Red Bull driver since Mark Webber has spent a period of their F1 career at Toro Rosso.
This method of recruitment has been successful, producing some excellent drivers such as Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel. However, the river has seemed to dry up for the four-time World Champions and maybe it's time they increased their talent pool.
Enter Sergio Perez. The Mexican is somewhat of a veteran of the grid, with 2020 being his ninth season in F1. At 30 years old, he would certainly buck the trend of Red Bull employing younger drivers.
However, this may just be what the team needs- a driver with plenty of experience. The two most recent graduates from Toro Rosso, Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon, are both young drivers who have struggled after their promotion to Red Bull- especially when being compared to Verstappen.
If Red Bull are serious about mounting a Constructors Championship challenge in 2022 under the new regulations, they need a driver alongside Max Verstappen who is going to regularly achieve good results, as well as step up when the Dutchman struggles.
Perez has proven himself as a consistent performer over his career. Despite never being in a front-running car, the current Racing Point driver has taken eight podiums, often capitalising on the struggles of those around him during unpredictable races. Astonishingly, he has outscored his teammate in every season since 2014.
Unfortunately for the former Sauber driver, the Aston Martin seat has been given to Sebastian Vettel for next season as the team moves away from it's Racing Point title. His future in F1 looks uncertain with a move down the grid looking like the only possible move for Perez. Yet a move to Red Bull could allow him to show fans that he has the ability to compete for race wins.
Perez's departure from Racing Point at the end of the season will mark the end of a seven year relationship with the Silverstone based team.
One of Perez's biggest criticisms is his qualifying form, which is one of Verstappen's many strong points- and this has certainly been an issue for Red Bull with Gasly and Albon.
Checo also struggled in his only run with a big team, at the dwindling McLaren, way back in 2013. He had a rather torrid season and was well beaten by his teammate that year Jenson Button. However, that was a long time ago and Perez has matured substantially during his time with Force India/ Racing Point.
He has proven himself as a terrific wheel-to-wheel racer with expert race craft, often benefitting from daring strategies to achieve fantastic results. This could be incredibly useful for Red Bull, allowing them to really take the fight to Mercedes, at least from a strategical viewpoint.
It is unlikely Perez would be happy playing second fiddle to Verstappen, but he could do a phenomenal job as a secondary driver, with several opportunities of getting on the podium.
Furthermore, the 30-year-old would bring plenty of sponsorship for Red Bull, another reason to consider signing the ex McLaren driver- even if it's not a deal breaker for the team.
While a swoop for Perez would be a big change in tradition and philosophy for Red Bull, it is a gamble that could help steady the ship and allow them to really challenge Mercedes in seasons to come.