Red Bull has officially signed Sergio Perez to replace Alex Albon for the 2021 season, dropping Albon to the role of reserve driver.
After reports started emerging on Thursday evening, confirmation from the team arrived on Friday that the 30-year-old Mexican will replace Albon next year, partnering Max Verstappen.
“I am incredibly grateful to Red Bull for giving me the opportunity to race for Red Bull Racing in 2021,” said Perez. “The chance to race for a championship-contending team is something I have been hoping for since I joined Formula 1 and it will be a proud moment to step onto the grid in Red Bull colors alongside Max.
“You can be sure that I will give next season my full focus. The team has the same winning mentality as me and I know I am here to perform and help the team fight for another title.”
Perez won his first race at the 190th attempt earlier this month when he took a shock win in the Sakhir Grand Prix, and after finishing fourth in the drivers’ championship behind Verstappen and the Mercedes drivers will now move to Red Bull next season.
“Alex is a valued member of the team and we thought long and hard about this decision,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said. “Having taken our time to evaluate all the relevant data and performances we have decided that Sergio is the right driver to partner Max for 2021 and look forward to welcoming him to Red Bull Racing. Alex remains an important part of our team as test and reserve driver with a key focus on 2022 development and we would like to thank him for his hard work and contribution.”
Albon had a difficult first full season at Red Bull and finished seventh in the standings with two podiums to his name, picking up fewer than half the points Verstappen did. With AlphaTauri’s line-up of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda confirmed, the British-Thai driver will not be on the grid in 2021 as he takes on the role of reserve at Red Bull.
The move marks the first time Red Bull has signed a driver from anywhere other than its junior team since 2007, when Mark Webber was signed from Williams.