Red Bull to announce Max Verstappen team-mate ‘this week’ with Sergio Perez decision made

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Red Bull are poised to announce Sergio Perez as Max Verstappen’s team-mate for next season this week, according to reports. Perez was released by Racing Point at the end of the Formula One season after the manufacturer hired Sebastian Vettel to drive for them next year.

The Mexican is in line to replace Alex Albon, who partnered Verstappen during the 2020 season but struggled to keep pace with the Dutchman, who won the last race of the season at Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has previously made it clear that a decision wouldn’t be made until the dust has settled at the end of the season.

And while the organisation had appeared keen to give Albon an opportunity to stake a claim for the seat, it seems that things might have changed following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on the weekend.

Sky Sports F1 reporter Ted Kravitz said during his Ted’s Notebook programme that, although Albon is well-liked amongst his team, the decision had been taken to hire the more experienced Perez, who won his first F1 race in the season’s penultimate race in Bahrain.

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“We are expecting an announcement, maybe in the next coming week,” Kravitz said.

“We’re expecting that Sergio Perez has joined the team and that Alex Albon is staying on at the team as a test and reserve driver. Or maybe they might even share the drive next year.

“It does look like Christian Horner and Helmut Marko have managed to convince Dietrich Mateschitz, the Red Bull boss who wanted to keep the faith with Alex Albon, to sign Sergio Perez.

“It seems like there’s nothing to lose. They may as well see how it goes [with him] and if he can’t do the job that they want him to do then they’ve always got Alex in reserve. That seems to be the elegant solution and it seems like that is what might happen.”

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It appears therefore that Albon’s performance at the weekend has not been enough to convince the Red Bull hierarchy that he deserves a place next season.

The 24-year-old British-Thai driver finished fourth in Abu Dhabi after putting pressure on Lewis Hamilton for a podium position and Horner was impressed by his work.

“Alex did a very good job today and it’s probably been his strongest collective weekend of the season,” Horner told Sky Sports post-race.

“He’s driven a good race and was putting Lewis under pressure at the end. We now have a complete set of information to analyse and work out what we’ll do.

“It won’t take too long and you guys will be the first to know.”

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