Sergio Perez was at risk of spending a year on the side-lines, with Sebastian Vettel taking his seat at Racing Point and the Mexican yet to sign a contract with another team as the season drew to a close in Abu Dhabi.
However, last week, Red Bull announced that Perez would be replacing Alex Albon at the team for 2021.
Helmut Marko, a senior Red Bull advisor, later confirmed that the Mexican had to agreed a one-year with the team but they have an option to extend beyond 2021 should he impress them.
And now, Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz has revealed why they decided to pick Sergio Perez over Alex Albon or a free agent driver, such as Nico Hulkenberg.
Speaking to Speedweek, a German-language motorsport publication owned by Red Bull, Mateschitz said:
“We need two strong drivers next year. Perez is one of the best in terms of performance and has never had a chance in a car like ours.
“He deserved this chance. Our goal was to fill the second cockpit as best as possible – and exclusively based on performance, who can get more points.”
Continuing, the Austrian billionaire insisted that Sergio Perez’s financial backing didn’t influence their decision to sign him.
“I don’t even know who he’s got. That didn’t make a difference.
“If he brings sponsors with him, that is welcome, because it is not a dowry for a cockpit, but a bonus for the team.”
Mateschitz also said he expects the field to be closer together in 2021 and he commented on why they decided to drop Daniil Kvyat from Scuderia AlphaTauri, Red Bull’s sister team, despite him having a few “excellent” performances in 2020.
“Next year will be a lot tighter. Everyone is moving closer together.
“We’re getting closer to Mercedes, but McLaren, Aston Martin, are also getting closer to us. The competition is very intense behind Mercedes.
“And don’t forget AlphaTauri: [Pierre] Gasly had a sensational driving season and is now very confident. Daniil Kvyat also had excellent races, but unfortunately, he lacked consistency.”