Sergio Perez says he will take a sabbatical from competitive motorsport in 2021 if his last remaining Formula 1 opportunity, a seat with Red Bull, goes unrealised.
Perez will leave Racing Point after the 2020 season, to be replaced by Sebastian Vettel, with potential avenues at backmarker Formula 1 teams having been closed off.
It means Perez’s only chance to remain in Formula 1 for 2021 is with the front-running Red Bull team.
Red Bull has yet to determine the identity of Max Verstappen’s team-mate though has repeatedly emphasised that it is up to Alexander Albon to prove he warrants retaining the seat.
A decision may not be made until after the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in mid-December.
“I think right now we’re just waiting on the decision, what they decide to do, so that’s out of my hands,” said Perez ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“I’m just approaching these three races as usual, just focus on the job, keep delivering, and the rest is out of my hands.
“There’s only one option [for 2021], I’ve said it before. I’ve been here so many years. I want to keep going, I think I’m at the peak of my career, but also want to keep going with a reason, with a plan, with a good project.
“I think if there’s not a good project that keeps my motivation, to give my 100 per cent, I would rather not take it.”
In the event of being left without a Formula 1 seat next year Perez says he will not take up a competitive seat in another category and instead spend 2021 on the sidelines.
“I think if I don’t have Formula 1 next year I don’t see myself doing anything else,” he said.
“I will take a year to consider what I want to do, if I really miss it [racing]. Most of the drivers, they retire, then six months they come back and want to do whatever is available!
“I have to see. I’ve never experienced that. My whole life I’ve been into [racing] so I have to see also life out of the sport, how it is, how it suits me, then see if I miss it or if I want to carry on with that life.
“I have a lot of interest in other stuff, away from racing, I think obviously I’m still young, I could see myself later on doing other businesses away from motorsport, not in my 30s you know, but if that comes early I’m happy to consider that option as well.
“I have my family, I want to see my kids growing up, other things you know, I can imagine a life without motorsport.”