Sergio Perez‘s future at Red Bull Racing has been in the spotlight due to his significant performance lag compared to team-mate Max Verstappen. The Dutch driver recently celebrated his ninth consecutive victory at the Dutch Grand Prix, raising questions about Perez’s position within the team.
Further stoking the rumors was Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, who in several interviews in German implied that Perez’s position for 2024, despite a running contract, remained unsure. The return of Daniel Ricciardo to AlphaTauri has also been seen by many as a potential threat to Perez’s Red Bull seat, though likely not before 2025.
Despite all speculation, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner provided a strong assurance during a post-race interview after the Zandvoort race. He clearly asserted that Perez’s future with the team in 2024 was secure, irrespective of Marko’s remarks. “Checo’s situation for next year is clear,” Horner said, “He’s a Red Bull Racing driver. We have an agreement with him.”
Horner went on to underline the team’s satisfaction with Perez’s performance, noting that the driver’s unfortunate pit lane speed limiter incident saw him finish the recent Grand Prix fourth, just off the podium. Despite this setback, Perez currently stands second in the world championship. “Irrelevant of agreements, we’re pleased with the job that he’s doing,” added Horner.
However, Horner strongly emphasised that “He’s the only driver other than Max to have won grands prix this year”. He acknowledged that, despite the fact that Verstappen sets a high standard, Perez has been holding his own. “It’s easy to beat up on him when the barometer is so high on the other side, but he will be our driver in 2024.”
Horner further pointed out that Verstappen’s exceptional run of form doesn’t just overshadow his Red Bull teammate, but also the other drivers on the grid. He quipped that being Verstappen’s teammate is somewhat of an “unenviable job” due to the Dutchman’s extraordinary performances.
Looking at the standings, Horner feels that Verstappen’s string of strong performances have somewhat masked Perez’s own accomplishments. “You’ve got to look at the performance on the timesheet and the results sheet. If Max hadn’t been there, Checo would have won another four or five races.”
Reiterating the team’s faith in Perez, Horner concluded, “So, he’s doing his job. He’s second in the world championship. You saw his performance today. He was unlucky to get the speeding fine. And hopefully he can add to his wins before the end of the year.”