Perez wary big changes in 2021 could widen gap

Sergio Perez fears massive rule changes in 2021 will not close the gap to the front running teams, rather it will extend it.

Formula 1 is set to introduce a raft of new regulations for the 2021 season.

These are being designed with the goal of improving racing, making it easier for cars to overtake and closing the gap between the haves and the have nots.

The rule changes could yet include a return to refuellling with FIA president Jean Todt keen on the idea.

The Frenchman, who previously led the Ferrari team, reckons it will be mean lighter cars and therefore better racing.

Perez, though, fears major changes will in fact have the opposite outcome.

He told FoxSport: “The more we change, the more advantage that we give to the bigger teams to create the gap that we are all worried about.

“We will see what we are able to bring as a sport for 2021.

“That will be a good thing for the race, but I think if you have this spread in the field, will it change anything? I don’t think so.

“I think [the cars] are on the heavy side, especially when you start the race at 100 kilos [of fuel], it can be a bit too heavy.

“But I’ve been doing this for the last nine years with this level of car, I think all the issues come down to the show that we’re able to put on.

“Spectators want to see a good show. They’re not that concerned if it’s with five kilos or 100 kilos.”

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Perez ‘surprised’ by Stroll’s race pace

Sergio Perez admits he has was “caught out” by his Racing Point team-mate Lance Stroll’s race pace during the first half of the 2019 season.

This year marks Perez’s sixth consecutive season with the Silverstone-based squad and he was expected to be too strong for Stroll, who is in his first year with Racing Point but third season in F1.

However, while the Mexican has had the clear upper hand in qualifying, Stroll has had a big edge come race day as he has picked up 18 points compared to his team-mate’s 13.

Perez says the Canadian has been a lot quicker than he expected.

“I think since he came I’ve been surprised with his race rhythm, that’s something that caught me out,” told Racer.com. “I seemed to have a bit more of an advantage historically to my previous team-mates, especially on race pace, and with Lance, the first time, he was up there.

“I think his race pace is quite good. He’s improving. I think the driver he is today to where he was when he arrived, he has improved massively, so there is a lot to come from him. I think he has performed quite well. He is a racer, like me, on Sundays, so he’s done a pretty good job considering the car we’ve had all the way to now.”

Stroll’s best points-scoring display came at the German Grand Prix as he finished fourth in a chaotic, wet race while Perez retired on the opening lap, having started P8.

However, the 29-year-old is not too downbeat.

“I started the season well,” he said. “I’ve been driving pretty well, no mistakes, maximizing the potential of the car, all the way through the first part of the season.

“Germany, obviously, I have to take responsibility for that, that has an impact on my season until the summer break, but overall a lot of positives to take, and I expect to have a very strong second half of the season.”

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Racing Point set to retain Perez and Stroll

Racing Point are set to keep an unchanged line-up for the 2020 season with team principal Otmar Szafnauer saying they are happy with Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.

This year marks Perez’s sixth consecutive campaign with the Silverstone-based squad while Stroll joined at the start of this year on the back of his father Lawrence’s takeover of the team.

The start of the 2019 season has not been the smoothest for Racing Point, though, as they are languishing in eighth position in the standings with 31 points to date, but they are confident they have turned the corner.

And they have high hopes of carrying continuity into next season by retaining their drivers.

Asked by Reuters whether he envisaged a change in his line-up, Szafnauer replied: “I don’t think so.

“Lance is young and learning, has a lot of potential. It’s a totally different team for him and that takes time to gel with everybody and settle in but that’s happening at a good rate.

“We’re teaching him things about how we go about our business and Sergio is helping with that. Sergio’s been here a long time so I think it’s a good mix, a good combination.”

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Perez blames Albon for ‘unnecessary’ contact

Sergio Perez says Alexander Albon just “crashed into” him during the Hungarian GP in what he billed as an “unnecessary” collision.

The duo were fighting for the final points-paying position at the Hungaroring, which Perez held after SportPesa Racing Point’s strategy elevated him into the top-ten.

However, in the closing laps he cam under threat from Albon with the Toro Rosso driver quickly making his move.

That ended in disaster for Perez, who was left with a damaged RS19.

“It was a very good start, very good first lap, managed to get some good positioning,” he told Autosport.

“In the first stage we were just managing and then [went] for a very aggressive strategy we managed to undercut [Romain] Grosjean and [Nico] Hulkenberg.

“Then towards the end, Albon came very fast and crashed into me, damaged my suspension and the last three or four laps were very challenging and [I] finished P11.

“Great race, we gave it everything, hopefully, the second half of the season will be promising for us.

“[But] the contact was very clear, there was some damage into my car.

“The [FIA] should let us race, but the contact is unnecessary from my point of view. I don’t think they have to do anything about it, but the contact was just unnecessary.”

As for Albon, he didn’t see the collision as anything “serious” but feels the blame rests with Perez.

“We had the run on him, and he left a space on the inside, so I went for it, and then he closed the space, but to be honest he still left me enough space,” Albon told Sky Sports F1.

“I thought the move was done, and then he turned in on the apex when I was next to him.

“We had a bit of a clatter, but nothing serious. It’s that thing where you come out of the corner and you’re like ‘I hope my steering’s straight’ – and it was, so it was OK.”

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