Perez has become a bit of an icon in the Force India/Racing Point story since his move from McLaren in 2014, scoring five of the Silverstone-based team’s six podiums in Formula 1 to date. A new three-year deal should theoretically keep him in the side that he sees as a “second family” until the end of 2022. While Perez hasn’t scored points since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April, the move – that was sealed by team principal Otmar Szafnauer being spotted walking around with a sombrero – comes as little surprise, with Perez’s rumoured talks with Haas never gaining any huge momentum. Racing Point’s desire for consistency and a stable platform to build upon after a tumultuous 2018 means an unchanged line-up, with Lance Stroll also staying put, is far from a negative thing.
In an official press release issued by the team, the Mexican told of his excitement over the team’s future heading into a new era of F1 in 2021.
“I’m very excited to extend my partnership with the team for the next three years. I’ve been working together with this group of people for a long time now and they have become my second family. Together we have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success and we share the same passion for racing. I have been impressed with the direction the team has taken over the last twelve months and that gives me confidence for the future. I believe the best times are still to come and I look forward to celebrating plenty of podiums in the years ahead.”
Driver announcements have been the flavour of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, with the back-to-school experience soured and lifted for some drivers. The decision to keep Perez means that half the grid officially knows what its doing for 2020, and the other half still has some thinking to do. Szafnauer echoed Perez’s excitement and optimism for Racing Point’s near future, with a £25 million new factory expected to be ready in time for ‘21.
“We know Sergio very well and it’s great to confirm him on a long-term deal. Over the last six years we have seen him become a very complete driver with excellent qualifying speed and exceptional race craft. Sergio believes in the long-term vision of this project and getting his commitment until the end of 2022 gives us valuable consistency going forward. As the team continues to grow and develop it’s important to have a driver with Sergio’s level of experience, especially with new regulations on the horizon. The whole team is thrilled to continue working with Sergio and I believe we can enjoy great success together in the coming years.”
And so the relationship between Perez and Racing Point continues. After all, if Perez hadn’t intervened by prompting the team to go into administration last year we could have been down to just nine teams in F1.