Red Bull boss Christian Horner is hoping Sergio Perez can have the same impact as Daniel Ricciardo did when he was teammates with Max Verstappen between the 2016 and 2018 Formula 1 seasons.
Red Bull have struggled to replace Ricciardo ever since the Australian left for the factory Renault outfit at the end of 2018. The Austrian team initially signed Pierre Gasly, though they dumped him mid-way through the 2019 season in favour of Thai driver Alex Albon.
However, Albon too struggled alongside Verstappen and the team has now employed Sergio Perez as its second driver.
And Horner didn't mince his words when outlining exactly what he and the team expect of the Mexican.
"It will be very difficult to find your way straight away in just one test, but he has the advantage of having a lot of experience and of course we expect him to be close to Max and challenge him - like we had with Daniel and Max for three seasons," Horner told Motorsport-Total.com
"That's exactly what Perez was brought in for - to ensure that Red Bull has two cars in 2021 that regularly challenge or beat Mercedes drivers.
"So hopefully Sergio can play a really important role for the team in getting both cars close to the Mercedes on a consistent basis."