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Credit: Patrik Lundin/Getty Images /Red Bull Content Pool

It was one of the worst-kept secrets in recent Formula 1 history, but Red Bull have finally announced the signing of Sergio Perez on a one-year deal to partner Max Verstappen in 2021, with Alex Albon to take the role of test driver.

In a statement released by the Milton Keynes outfit, Team Principal Christian Horner said: “Alex is a valued member of the Team and we thought long and hard about this decision.

“Having taken our time to evaluate all the relevant data and performances we have decided that Sergio is the right driver to partner Max for 2021 and look forward to welcoming him to Red Bull Racing.

“Alex remains an important part of our Team as Test and Reserve Driver with a key focus on 2022 development and we would like to thank him for his hard work and contribution.”

Speculation had been rife throughout the season as a result of Albon’s inconsistent performances alongside a team-mate who rarely misses a beat.

Unfortunately for the British-Thai driver, Racing Point put Perez in the shop window when they ousted him in favour of Sebastian Vettel, and the Mexican came up with the goods, picking up his maiden victory en route to finishing a career-best fourth in the drivers’ championship.

It’s harsh for Albon, but we’re left with the mouthwatering prospect of these two fearsome competitors locking horns in the same machinery next season.

An obviously delighted Perez said: “I am incredibly grateful to Red Bull for giving me the opportunity to race for Red Bull Racing in 2021.

“The chance to race for a championship contending team is something I have been hoping for since I joined Formula One and it will be a proud moment to step onto the grid in Red Bull colours alongside Max.

“You can be sure that I will give next season my full focus. The Team has the same winning mentality as me and I know I am here to perform and help the Team fight for another title.”

What do you make of the decision to swap Albon for Perez? Let us know in the comments or send us a tweet.

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