Sergio Perez may have been recruited by Red Bull ahead of the 2021 season, but he remembers how the team did not always take to him initially.
The Mexican was rejected a spot in the team’s driver programme after a rough trial session.
The incident took place in 2007, when Perez was featuring in Formula 3.
He was invited by Red Bull for a test and there was immediately a problem with the car setup which led to him not being offered a role.
“In 2007, I was invited through the programme to do a test,” Perez told F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.
“It didn’t go well. I had an issue with the seat because my knees were hitting the wheel so that I couldn’t turn.
“So I was quite far off the pace. I thought that I was going to be able to sort out the seat and so on. When I went back, I was just kicked out. I didn’t have an extra chance. I was too slow. It was all about lap time.
“I was just kicked out. I think that was in 2007 or 2006.
“Then I went into Formula 3. I was racing against the Red Bull drivers, and I was leading the championship. I saw him at Silverstone [and said] Helmut, how are you?’
“‘We will beat you, we will beat you’, he was telling me. So, OK, ‘have a nice day Helmut’.”
Perez soon made the move to GP2 for the 2009 season, where he raced for Christian Horner’s Red Bull team named Arden.
This time, too, Perez was close to joining Red Bull. However, Horner pulled the plug on this once again.
“The other conversation was once in GP2, my first year with Christian,” Perez said.
“After one good race I did in Silverstone, he came to me and said, ‘hey, what are you doing?’ and so on.
“He told me, ‘hey, you’re doing alright, but you have your own driver programme; you don’t need me.’ That was the final conversation that we had, that I remember.”
As things would have it, 12 years later, Perez has finally got the chance he was almost destined never to get. Interestingly, the two men who had previously turned him down played a leading role in recruiting him this time.
Will he make the most of it?