Horner: Red Bull took "grown-up" call to look outside juniors

Christian Horner says Red Bull made a “grown-up” decision to look outside its junior drivers when deciding on its 2021 Formula 1 line-up, where Sergio Perez replaces Alex Albon. 

Horner: Red Bull took "grown-up" call to look outside juniors
Listen to this article

Perez is the first non-Red Bull junior to race for the energy drinks company’s eponymous team since Mark Webber was hired to race alongside David Coulthard in 2007. 

Since Sebastian Vettel replaced Coulthard after the Scot retired from F1 at the end of 2008, Red Bull has only run drivers that have been promoted from its Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri sister squad.

But since Daniel Ricciardo left Red Bull at the end of 2018, the team has quickly replaced the two drivers brought in to race alongside Max Verstappen – Pierre Gasly and Albon – who both struggled to close a significant pace gap to the Dutchman. 

Speculation over Albon’s Red Bull future was high throughout 2020, with the team announcing after the season had finished that it had demoted him to a reserve/development driver role and brought in Perez, who was facing time out of F1 after losing his Racing Point/Aston Martin drive to Vettel. 

“It was a tremendously difficult decision, and one that we were fortunate to have time to be able to fully consider - the whole season in fact,” Horner told Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview.

“And it's highly unusual for a driver of Sergio's quality and ability to be on the market.  

“So, we just felt that we would be better placed putting in a more experienced driver alongside Max as we head into 2021. 

“I think it was a grown-up view that we took to go outside of the scheme. And to give Sergio a chance.  

“Obviously he drove so well last year - particularly in the in the last third of the season.” 

Regarding Albon’s future, Horner said Red Bull will “continue to work with and develop Alex offline”, with the 24-year-old also embarking on a part-time DTM campaign in 2021. 

“He still remains very much part of the team - he's driving the simulator today as we speak,” Horner added.

Read Also:

When asked what Perez’s appointment gives Red Bull, Horner replied: “He's got 10 years’ worth of Formula 1 experience, I think he's demonstrated his ability to maximise the Pirelli tyre.  

“And, of course, he just brings a whole host of experience - of the podiums that he's achieved - and results that he's achieved in cars that have, until last year, been far from competitive.  

“I've known Sergio a long time - he drove for my team in GP2 years ago [Arden International, in 2009], and I've always followed his career with interest.  

“And it was just a matter of circumstances that presented itself as an opportunity and made sense for Sergio to take the seat alongside Max this year.” 

shares
comments

Related video

What AlphaTauri did (and didn’t) reveal in new F1 car images
Previous article

What AlphaTauri did (and didn’t) reveal in new F1 car images

Next article

Opinion: Why safety cars are an outdated institution

Opinion: Why safety cars are an outdated institution
Load comments
The inevitable consequence of the Liberty F1 popularity boom Prime

The inevitable consequence of the Liberty F1 popularity boom

Sell out crowds at Formula 1 races are the norm rather than the exception these days, as grand prix racing is enjoying a massive boom under Liberty Media. But the Spanish Grand Prix highlighted numerous issues some circuits may face as demand for F1 soars

Formula 1
May 26, 2022
The danger for Red Bull in its Barcelona F1 team orders choice Prime

The danger for Red Bull in its Barcelona F1 team orders choice

OPINION: Red Bull walked into a team orders saga on its way to taking a Spanish Grand Prix 1-2 last weekend, where it took the lead of the 2022 Formula 1 world championships for the first time. But its decisions have added an element of risk to later races.

Formula 1
May 25, 2022
Why Mercedes' Spanish GP gains aren't as grand as they seemed Prime

Why Mercedes' Spanish GP gains aren't as grand as they seemed

Mercedes' strong showing in last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix prompted team boss Toto Wolff to say it had halved its deficit to the leaders and its Formula 1 title chances were back on after a rocky start to the 2022 campaign. But a closer inspection of the team's performance suggests its gains aren't as grand as they first appeared

Formula 1
May 24, 2022
What's next for the Green Red Bull controversy? Prime

What's next for the Green Red Bull controversy?

From the 'pink Mercedes' to the 'Green Red Bull', the Silverstone-based team has received suspicious glares from up and down the Formula 1 paddock over its car design exploits. But after being cleared by the FIA over its Spanish Grand Prix updates amid a backdrop of cries of foul play, what's next in this saga?

Formula 1
May 24, 2022
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

In an unusually hectic Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc was denied a dominant performance by his Ferrari engine letting go which allowed Max Verstappen to pick up the pieces. But numerous flashpoints kept the race twisting and turning throughout, with one perfect score from an emerging contender

Formula 1
May 23, 2022
How Verstappen overcame his and Red Bull’s errors to win in Spain Prime

How Verstappen overcame his and Red Bull’s errors to win in Spain

Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari engine disaster offered an open goal for Max Verstappen and Red Bull to strike, but the reigning Formula 1 world champion still had to solve multiple errors and profit from a begrudged assist from team-mate Sergio Perez, which created an unexpectedly eventful Spanish Grand Prix

Formula 1
May 23, 2022
Why Red Bull can win a Spanish GP that looked perfect for Ferrari Prime

Why Red Bull can win a Spanish GP that looked perfect for Ferrari

Formula 1's return to Spain on Friday ended with Ferrari leading the way from Mercedes, while Red Bull could only manage third fastest overall courtesy of Max Verstappen. But its chances of victory are far from remote with a deeper dig into the times despite Ferrari's strong start...

Formula 1
May 20, 2022
The key aspects of Porsche and Audi's planned F1 entries Prime

The key aspects of Porsche and Audi's planned F1 entries

The VW Group’s German superpowers of sportscar racing have all but confirmed they are coming to F1 when the next set of engine rules come into force in 2026. Here's why both manufacturers are all set to take the plunge, and crucially how it might work

Formula 1
May 19, 2022