Perez says if he ends up leaving F1, he can do so with ‘a lot of pride’
Time is running out for Sergio Perez to extend his stay in Formula 1. But if the Mexican can’t find a way to secure a seat on the 2021 grid, he says he will leave the championship with his head held high…
F1 motorsports boss Ross Brawn said earlier this week that it would be a tragedy if Perez does not stay in F1 next year, the Mexican enjoying his best season to date to sit fourth in the drivers’ standings. He’s hit a century of points for the third time in his career - helped by that brilliant podium in Turkey - and is almost certainly going to achieve his best-ever tally.
However, after he was told his services with long-time team Racing Point would no longer be required, to make way for Sebastian Vettel as the team morph into Aston Martin Racing, the Mexican has been unable to lock down a seat anywhere else, with his only chance now lying with Red Bull, should they choose not to keep Alex Albon.
“That one is not in my hands,” said Perez, when it was implied his only chance was at Red Bull. “At the moment, I’m just focusing on finishing on a high. If the opportunity comes, great. If not, I’m prepared to stop for a year.”
Esteban Ocon was the most recent driver to take a year out and return to F1. Kimi Raikkonen took a couple of years out, too. So it is possible. But should Perez not return, the 30-year-old nine-time podium scorer is proud of what he has achieved in F1.
“I’m pleased with how I’m performing,” he said, speaking before he captured that first podium of the year in Istanbul.
“There have been things that could have been better, I should have two podiums already this season, should be having a lot more points, missing two race is not ideal in such a short championship, but overall I’m pleased especially with the level of consistency throughout the year, or throughout the years.
“[Regarding] if it’s an injustice on missing out, I think it’s part of Formula 1, I always knew this is how it is. I can call myself privileged, I have had a great career, 10 years in F1 up to now.
"If it’s the case I have to leave the sport, I can leave with a lot of pride as I’ve delivered with the material that I have had. Not many people can have such a career. So we’ll see what happens but I’m at peace with myself.”
Perez is currently three points clear of Charles Leclerc in the drivers’ standings, and his tally of 100 points – 41 more than team mate Lance Stroll – will be the defining factor should Racing Point hold on to a best-ever P3 in the constructor’s championship.