Perez says 2020 'a year of lost opportunities' as he considers sabbatical in 2021
A year out of Formula 1 isn’t a career-ending move – just ask Daniil Kvyat and Esteban Ocon. And it could be Sergio Perez’s next move as he aims to brush off what he called an “unlucky” 2020 season, after which he will be replaced by Sebastian Vettel as Racing Point morph into Aston Martin Racing.
Perez’s hopes of staying in F1 now seem to rest on Red Bull Racing, who have yet to confirm a second driver, but have made it clear their preference is to stick with Alex Albon. So if that opportunity closes, could a sabbatical from F1 be the answer for the Mexican?
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“It’s so late now, and it looks like I will know whether I continue in Formula 1 or not quite late in the year, so a sabbatical, it’s an option," said Perez, speaking on the eve of the Turkish Grand Prix. "We will see what happens in the next couple of weeks.”
The 30-year-old has done everything to improve his stock this season as he sits a brilliant P6 in the drivers’ standings behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Yet, he said he’s also been stung, having missed two Silverstone rounds thanks to Covid-19, and having lost likely podiums at the Red Bull Ring and Imola.
“I think it’s been a year of lost opportunities, in a way, you know? We lost a podium in Austria where we were already running third, and we made the wrong call at the time. We had the same last weekend in Imola so two podiums lost plus all the other aspects…” he said.
“We’ve had an up and down season; the virus, I lost two races, I think the car was at its strongest point at probably our best track – Silverstone was at the time our best track – and we had the most competitive car.
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“So, it’s been a bit [of an] unlucky year but I still feel that things will turn around and we can make this season a great one,” he concluded.
Gearing up for his second start in Turkey, where he finished 14th for Sauber in 2011, Perez is the only driver bar Lewis Hamilton to have scored points in each of their appearances this season. Racing Point are flying high too; just one point behind Renault in the hunt for third in the constructors’ championship.