A number of Formula 1-related announcements are due on Friday, led by Red Bull’s expected confirmation of Sergio Perez in place of Alex Albon for 2021.
Reports first appeared in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf on Thursday evening that Perez has been selected to partner Max Verstappen, along with another report in the Red Bull-owned Speedweek publication, and sources have confirmed to RACER that an announcement is due on Friday morning.
Albon has had a difficult first full season at Red Bull and finished seventh in the drivers’ championship with two podiums to his name, while Verstappen was third overall with two wins and scored more than double the amount of points as his teammate. Team principal Christian Horner said Albon would be given until the end of the season to prove his potential, with Perez – who was dropped by Racing Point in favor of Sebastian Vettel – named as the likely replacement if the team opted to make a change.
After a highly impressive run of form from Perez at Racing Point – including a shock win in the Sakhir Grand Prix and second place in Turkey – the Mexican secured fourth in the drivers’ championship. Despite Albon picking up a podium in Bahrain and finishing a close fourth behind the two Mercedes drivers in Abu Dhabi, Horner said on Sunday night that a call would be made on his future in the coming days, and it is believed the decision has been made to demote him to reserve driver.
Red Bull did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday evening, but it is not the only team planning an announcement, with Mercedes also calling a press conference on Friday.
The Mercedes news relates to the involvement of its principal partner INEOS – which has been linked with a shareholding in the past – but the constructors’ champions have also teased a potential new contract for Lewis Hamilton on social media.
Hamilton and Toto Wolff will be appearing alongside Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas at the FIA Prize Giving event later on Friday evening.