Sergio Perez says he will only found out “after the end of the season” if Red Bull will rescue his Formula 1 career by signing him up for 2021.
The Mexican told Spanish-language media on Monday that his ‘plan A’ is “to race at Red Bull”, although he acknowledges that the team says “they will not announce anything until after the end of the season”.
Perez is losing his current seat to Sebastian Vettel for 2021, and he says being signed by Red Bull is now the only way he will be in Formula 1 next year.
“Plan B would be to take a sabbatical,” he revealed.
“If I am not in Formula 1 next year, I want to take that time to think very hard about what I want to do.
“I have options to return in 2022, but I want to analyse everything very well. Will there be a possibility to join a good project, or do I no longer want to continue in F1?” wondered Perez.
Some have suggested that Max Verstappen is effectively vetoing his candidature at Red Bull, as the Dutchman would prefer Nico Hulkenberg as his next teammate.
“I don’t know,” Perez said. “I don’t know if he is against me but in the end, Max and every driver wants someone at his side who can push him. And I don’t see why that can’t be me.”
He played down the notion that he might switch to another series, like Indycar.
“No other category catches my attention,” the 30-year-old said.
He admitted that Racing Point, to become Aston Martin next year, terminated his three-year contract thanks to a clause.
“There was an option on both sides and they were able to execute it,” said Perez.
He also sounds none too keen on becoming a full-time F1 reserve driver next year in order to remain close to the pinnacle of motorsport during his sabbatical.
“It is something I would have to discuss, but I am not convinced that I will travel to so many races. I don’t want to go to 23 races and be away from my family without being able to race.
“For 2022 the rules are changing and we will all start from zero, so after 200 laps I would be at my level again.”
He said his sabbatical will “of course” be supported by Carlos Slim, his wealthy Mexican backer.
“We make every decision together and yes, they will continue to support me. I will have unlimited data throughout the year on my Telcel,” Perez joked.
He said the risk for Formula 1 of losing talented drivers like him is that “We can see a category that is not at such a high level as in the past”.
“We could have ten top-level drivers and ten fill drivers who have not done so much to be there.”
Finally, Perez revealed that he flew to Bahrain with Romain Grosjean, “and we talked about our families and his plans to compete in Indycar next year”.