Sergio Perez says he will not race at all in 2021 if he misses out on a Red Bull Formula 1 seat.
The Racing Point driver is fourth in the championship and enjoying the best season of his career but finds himself on the brink of being forced out of F1 after losing his drive to Sebastian Vettel for next season.
Perez’s only remaining option is with Red Bull, which is weighing up whether to keep Alex Albon after a difficult season. If Red Bull opts for a change, Perez faces competition from former team-mate and 2020 Racing Point stand-in Nico Hulkenberg for the coveted place alongside Max Verstappen.
He said ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix that he is “just waiting on the decision” now and described it as “out of my hands”.
Having previously admitted that a sabbatical was a possibility in 2021 given it is so late in the year and establishing a suitable alternative to F1 is difficult, Perez has now revealed he intends to sit on the sidelines next year if he is not in F1.
Though Haas is yet to announce its drivers for 2021 it is expected to confirm an all-rookie line-up of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, while the only other vacancy is the Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri seat that will probably go to another Formula 2 racer, Yuki Tsunoda.
Pictured in 2019
Perez said on Thursday in Bahrain that means “there’s only one option” for him to stay in F1, and underlined that long-term he is not interested in staying unless it is “with a reason, with a plan, with a good project – if there’s not a good project that gives me motivation to give 100% I’d rather not take it”.
Asked by The Race if he has given much thought to a Plan B, Perez said: “I’m clear on what I want to do.
“Plan A is to carry on and Plan B will be to stop for a year, see how I feel without racing, see if I really miss it, if I really want to come back or if there’s other series that I’m interested in doing, or if I rather just do something else away from motorsport.
“I will have a year to think about what I really want to do ahead of that.”
When asked by The Race to clarify if that meant not racing at all in 2021, he said: “Yeah, I think if I don’t have Formula 1 next year, I don’t see myself doing anything else.
“So I would take a year to consider what I want to do, if I really miss it.
“Most drivers they retire and after six months they go mad and they want to do whatever is available. I have to see, I’ve never experienced that.
“My whole life I’ve been into it. So I have to see also the life out of the sport, how it is, how it suits me and then see if I miss it or I just want to carry on with that life.”
Perez is 30 years old and has been in F1 since 2011.
Asked if he can imagine a life outside of motorsport, he replied: “Yeah, I can. I have a lot of interest in other stuff, away from racing.
“I’m obviously still very young, I could see myself later on doing other businesses away from motorsport – not in my 30s! But if that comes early then I’m happy to consider that option as well.
“I’ve got my family, I want to see my kids growing, and so many other things. I can imagine a life without motorsport.”