Sergio Perez says Red Bull is his only option to stay in Formula 1 next year, and that he would take a year out in 2021 and assess his situation if he fails to secure the drive.
The Mexican is a candidate for the Red Bull seat together with incumbent Alex Albon and fellow veteran Nico Hulkenberg.
The team has indicated that while the priority is to keep Albon, it could change its policy and opt for an experienced driver from outside its usual pool.
Perez currently lies fourth in the world championship despite missing the two Silverstone races after he tested positive for COVID-19.
He stressed that he only wants to stay in F1 with a competitive team.
“There’s only one option,” he admitted. “I’ve said it before, I’ve been here for so many years. I want to keep going, I think I’m at the peak of my career.
“But I also want to keep going with a reason, with a plan, with a good project, so I think if there’s not a good project that keeps my motivation to give 100 percent, I’d rather not take it.
“I think right now we’re just waiting on the decision, what they decide to do. So that’s out of my hands.
“And so I’m just approaching these three races as usual, trying to focus on the job, keep delivering, and the rest is not on my hands. So nothing further to report on that.”
Asked why the team should favour him over Albon and Hulkenberg, he said: “I think that’s the wrong question to ask myself!
“I can speak myself very up, and certainly put myself in pole position, but I don’t think it’s me who has to judge myself.”
Perez stressed that he has no interest in looking at another category for next season.
“I’m clear on what I want to do. Plan A is obviously to carry on, then 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’d rather just do something else and stay away from motorsport.
“I will have a year to think about what I really want to do ahead of that. I think if I don’t have F1 next year, I don’t see myself doing anything else.
“So I will take a year to consider what I want to do, if I really miss it. Most of the drivers, they retire and after six months, they go mad, and they want to do whatever is available.
“So I have to see, I have 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 also insisted that he can see himself enjoying a life outside racing.
“Yeah, I can. I have a lot of interest in other stuff away from racing. Obviously I’m still very young. I could see myself later on doing other businesses away from motor sport, but not in my 30s.
“If that comes early, then I’m happy to consider that option as well. I’ve obviously got my family, I want to see my kids growing, so many other things, I can imagine a life without motorsport.”
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