Sergio Perez has emerged as a realistic candidate to become Max Verstappen’s teammate at Red Bull next year.
Although the team has been publicly backing the struggling Alex Albon, it is believed the candidates to replace him for 2021 also include Nico Hulkenberg.
La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Luigi Perna wrote on Thursday that Hulkenberg would help Red Bull sell energy drinks in the crucial German market, while Perez would bring millions in key Mexican sponsorship.
Pierre Gasly is not considered a candidate for a return to Red Bull Racing, as team owner Dietrich Mateschitz reportedly has big plans for the Alpha Tauri team and brand.
“He’s a good fit for them, they enjoy having him and their aspirations as a team have changed so they need an experienced, competitive driver,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
He added that while Albon is the “preferred choice” to stay alongside Verstappen, “You have to be aware of what the other options are out there”.
Interestingly, the latest Perez-Red Bull rumours follow hot on the heels of new reports that that Haas may have kicked off negotiations with Formula 2 driver Nikita Mazepin and his wealthy Russian father.
Earlier, Perez was considered a front-runner for a Haas seat in 2021, having been dumped by Racing Point in favour of Sebastian Vettel.
He admits he could take 2021 off altogether.
“I have no idea what will happen next, but I need something that will motivate me to give 100 percent on every lap,” said Perez, 30. “If I don’t find this, I can take a year and see what options come next.”