F1 2021: All eyes on Red Bull as Alex Albon, Sergio Perez’s decision loom

Red Bull boss Christian Horner says the team is going through “a lot of data” ahead of the expected Formula 1 line announcement for 2021, with current driver Alex Albon and agent free Sergio Perez main controversies.

With AlphaTauri confirmed Yuki Tsunoda for next season, and Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton expecting to agree contracts before Christmas, attention is now shifting to Red Bull to make the decision and fill the 2021 grid.

“We’ve always said we’ll go to the end of the year and then make a decision at the end of the season,” Horner told reporters after the F1 weekend at the end of the season. in Abu Dhabi.

“But we have a full picture now of the season and we will make that decision in the coming days.”

Albon hopes to keep his seat alongside Max Verstappen, while Perez – who finished an impressive quarter in the 2020 stand while also winning a race – is desperate to land after his exit Racing Point.

“We have a lot of data now,” said Horner. “We have all the experience over the various rounds that we’ve done, and we’ll sit down and go through that until we can come to the right decision. . “

The Case for Albon: Sustainability and Belief in Adolescence

Albon was shining brightly after being called by Red Bull halfway through his 2019 rookie season, but did not meet expectations this year. The British-born Thai driver, 23, who Red Bull hoped would help the fight for Mercedes, finished seventh in the tournament (with less than half of Verstappen’s total points) and with just two podiums to 11 his team.

He also failed, anxiously, to fail Verstappen all season – the closest challenge he presented to an Italian GP when he was 0.295s slower.

But Red Bull have been consistent in their message that they “want” to stay Albon, hoping for stability within the team while also keeping true to the philosophy of their young drivers and seeking talent from within. The Red Bull program – backed by AlphaTauri (formerly Toro Rosso) sister costumes – has featured stars like Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, but the team has also inspired and put down Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly in the seasons recently.

Red Bull will not want the same for Albon, who will not be on the grid next year if he loses his seat – with AlphaTauri drivers confirmed.

Alex Albon will reflect on his Abu Dhabi GP after finishing his race in fourth place.

Alex Albon will reflect on his Abu Dhabi GP after finishing his race in fourth place.

Throughout the second half of the campaign, Horner has challenged Albon to “earn” his drive and another new contract, and there have been inconsistent weekends – with podiums and crashes – after that. But Albon made one of his best performances of the season, finishing fourth and close to Lewis Hamilton, at Abu Dhabi GP who were just finishing off – taking Red Bull all over nothing they could have asked for.

“Alex has done a really good job today,” Horner said. “This is probably his strongest gathering weekend of the season, and he has led a good race. That now gives us a complete set of information to go out and explore, work out. find out what we are going to do. “

Albon, who said he did not “know” if he had done enough to stay with the team, said: “It was a great weekend for me, and obviously at a good time.

“I feel like it was my best weekend in terms of performance. To keep pushing and get the best result, obviously under the pressure of the weekend and all that goes on, I am proud of myself and feel like it was a good ending closes the year. “

Case for Perez: Rewarding one of the F1 2020 stars

Perez, meanwhile, is in a strange position to be out of a driver for the first time after the best season of his F1 career.

Mexico finished fourth, despite losing two of 17 races due to coronavirus – finishing with points in every race it completed, and also receiving two podiums and one victory in a ‘midfield’ Racing Point car.

Sebastian Vettel will be replaced next season, with Lance Stroll, who made Perez over 50 points.

But Horner says Perez is highly competitive – comparing him to Mark Webber when Red Bull were also watching outside of their young driver program – with the team leader particularly pleased with him. how he defeated Bahrain against.

“He was a huge winner, and he’s had a great season,” he told Sky F1. “Sergio has given a very good account of himself, and a great advertisement for himself.”

Natalie Pinkham caught up with Sergio Perez to discuss his first win and his future in Formula 1.

Natalie Pinkham caught up with Sergio Perez to discuss his first win and his future in Formula 1.

Perez, who replaces the most likely for Albon, with Nico Hulkenberg also an option, says he would like a chance with a top team for 2021, but will take a year out of F1 and will definitely return there. in 2022 if not.

“I’m at ease alone, no matter what happens,” he said last weekend.

“There has been communication but they will not make a decision until after the race, and that could be before the start of next season. In my opinion, I did everything I could. for me.

“I’m 30 years old, I’m at the height of my career. Whatever happens, this won’t be my last Formula 1 race.”

He said after his last race with Racing Point ended with an unfortunate DNF: “So that they don’t tell a line driver, I still have hope. Who knows what will happen now.

“The season is over, so a week or two won’t matter. Whatever I need to know, I’ll know, and whatever comes next, I’m ready for it.”