Sergio Perez has emerged as a surprise candidate for a seat with Williams in 2021, making George Russell’s future with the team uncertain.
Racing Point opted to replace Perez with Sebastian Vettel for next season ahead of its rebranding as Aston Martin, despite Perez having options in place as part of a long-term deal. Confirmation of his departure only came in mid-September, shortly after Williams came under new ownership from Dorilton Capital.
With Perez on the market, RACER understands Dorilton has been looking at the commercial possibilities of a change in driver line-up, with new technical regulations in 2022 offering a chance for the team to move up the grid. To that end, the Mexican’s potential sponsorship package is an attractive proposition, and talks have been held.
Although Williams confirmed both Russell and Nicholas Latifi for 2021 earlier this year after Valtteri Bottas signed a contract extension at Mercedes, it is believed Russell is most at risk due to the financial backing that comes with Latifi. While the Canadian has had a solid rookie year so far, he has yet to outqualify his teammate in a qualifying session.
Sources indicate to RACER that Russell has reached out to other teams in recent weeks, with the Mercedes-backed youngster facing the prospect of trying to find a new drive at the last minute.
At this stage it is not clear how open Perez is to joining the team that sits bottom of the constructors’ championship, especially as Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has hinted his team could turn to an experienced driver like Perez or Nico Hulkenberg to partner Max Verstappen if it opts to replace Alex Albon.