The apparent dispute between the two Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez is anything but settled. Speculation has long been mounting that the dispute between the two Formula 1 stars is escalating. Such has been the strength whispers, it is looking very likely Sergio Perez will be sacked from Red Bull in the near future with Daniel Ricciardo put back as Verstappens’ team mate.
According to the latest media reports, the 2021 and current F1 world champion Max Verstappen is “anything but happy” with Sergio Perez as his team-mate. At least that is what was said by the comments of f1-insider.com, in which the scenario of Perez being removed from his Red Bull seat is already being set up by the management.
Perez overstepped the mark
The reason for the quarrel between Verstappen and Perez is said to have been the qualifying in Monaco, when Checo caused an interruption in Q3 with a spin, which meant that Verstappen could no longer improve beyond fourth position on the grid.
The race in Monte Carlo was won by Perez a day later on 29 May, with Verstappen having to settle for third place at the Grand Prix in his adopted country.
An incident that is still not forgotten by the world champion. Should this allegedly intentional qualifying mistake by Perez continue to put such a strain on the internal relationship in the Red Bull team, the media report even states that it is grounds for “premature termination”.
Things boiled over in Brazil when Verstappen issued payback to Perez by refusing to allow the Mexican to pass.
The team hospitality quarters at Interlagos are in a permanent building behind the garages and have full glass frontages, so the ensuing row after the race was plain for all to see.
Verstappen’s manager was present along with team boss Christian Horner as angry exchanges continued for several minutes before the drivers left to give interviews to the press.
The team and both drivers claim the matter has been resolved however the surprise appointment of Daniel Ricciardo as a development driver has caused a flurry of speculation he will in fact replace Perez as Verstappen’s team mate.
Verstappen twice refused Perez team orders
According to f1-insider.com, Max Verstappen has long wanted his old team-mate Daniel Ricciardo back anyway, as reported on by this website a while ago. Although the Australian had a very poor 2022 season at McLaren, he will nevertheless return to Red Bull as a test driver next season.
Between 2016 and 2018, he drove for the Austrian-British team together with Max Verstappen, and the two colleagues were said to have a good relationship during that time.
If it were up to Verstappen, he could only imagine Ricciardo as the second regular driver at Red Bull again – instead of Sergio Pérez, whom Verstappen denied team-internal help twice in the final spurt of the season in Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi.
In the end, Pérez fell back behind Charles Leclerc in the drivers’ standings to third place and ended the year in a suboptimal sporting position and with internal team disputes.