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Sport

Perez says a sabbatical from F1 is an option for 2021

(Reuters) - Mexican driver Sergio Perez recognised on Thursday he might have no option but to take a year out of Formula One next season, but said he would leave with pride at what he had achieved.

Formula One F1 - Turkish Grand Prix - Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey - November 12, 2020 Racing Point's Sergio Perez during a press conference ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix FIA/Handout via REUTERS

The 30-year-old will leave Racing Point at the end of the year with four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel joining from Ferrari.

“Everything is so late now, and it looks like I will know whether I continue in Formula One or not quite late in the year,” Perez told reporters at the Turkish Grand Prix when asked if he might take a sabbatical rather than move to another series.

“So I think a sabbatical, it’s an option. We will see what happens in the next couple of weeks.”

Perez’s only real hope is Red Bull, if they decide to replace Thai racer Alexander Albon as Max Verstappen’s team mate.

Team boss Christian Horner has said they will look outside of the Red Bull driver pool if they do decide someone else is needed.

Red Bull’s other options include German Nico Hulkenberg, who lost his seat at Renault at the end of last year but has twice been used as a stand-in by Racing Point this season.

Perez is sixth in the standings, despite missing two grands prix after testing positive for COVID-19, and 25 points clear of Canadian team mate Lance Stroll, whose father owns Racing Point, after 13 of 17 races.

“I am pleased with how I’m performing,” said Perez. “Obviously things could have been better, I should have two podiums already this season and should be having a lot more points.

“Missing two races is not ideal in such a short championship.

“If it’s an injustice on missing out (on a drive), I think its part of Formula One. I always knew this is how it is. I can call myself privileged. I have a great career, 10 years in Formula One up to now.

“If I have to leave, I can leave with a lot of pride. We’ll see what happens but I am at peace with myself.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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