We started 2021 in the same place we were in October last year: Checo Pérez, the Mexican driver does not have a contract for the next Formula 1 season.
Pérez has not only the opportunity to say of himself “he had been waiting all his life”, but also backed by a good contract that reflects his new pay, that of a Grand Prix winner. In the 2020 season, the pilot from Guadalajara reported a salary close to 3.6 million dollars per year, which according to various reports, increased with Red Bull to 7.2, placing him among the highest paid Mexican athletes in the world, only behind Saúl Canelo Álvarez (boxing) and Raúl Jiménez (soccer).
As usual, the Mexican will have to win a place on the grid in 2022, justifying his seat in each race, just as he did during the last quarter, which between urgency, ambition and courage led him to position himself as the fourth best driver of the last championship, with two podiums and the longed-for first victory, in Turkey and Sakhir, respectively.
His continuity under contract is subject to results, so Checo should be even more consistent than shown at Racing Point (now Aston Martin). There are many dark clouds, because even if Pérez achieved good results – average, so to speak – in case the Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda conquers podiums and of course, surpasses the Mexican in the championship, there would be no discussion about his departure from the team to be promoted to the which will debut in F1 with Alpha Tauri. The same applies if Frenchman Pierre Gasly has a brilliant performance.
At least then, there are two pilots lurking for Pérez’s seat at Red Bull, who will run with more pressure than ever, not only because of the team that protected him when all the doors were practically closed, but also because of the brands that have him. supported since he was a child (Telmex, Claro, Telcel), as well as the thousands of fans who, since last October, pressured Red Bull to sign Checo.
The 30-year-old Mexican driver will have to be more cerebral than ever, understand his place in the team and assume his role, establish himself as a top driver, analyze where he can challenge his teammate Max Verstappen or not, when to support him and in what moments even, assume a leading role. The goal is clear, to push the team to achieve the constructors’ championship, to “steal” all possible points from Mercedes, especially Valteri Bottas. In particular, he should aim for, at least, the drivers’ runner-up (a championship would be madness and millions of fans in Latin America would celebrate it).
The Mexican has, in fact, the table set to have a dream campaign: a team of the highest level and infrastructure, where the improvements in the car are not limited to budget issues; an engine supplied by Honda that in its last year in F1 seeks to win the championship; one of the best car designers in Adrian Newey; his own abilities as a pilot, which are at their best physically and maturely, as well as a dedicated hobby. Everything so that at the end of 2021, the decision to continue in Red Bull is only Pérez’s.
Let the season begin, we are anxious.