Sergio Perez is skating on thin ice following his poor performance during the 2022 Formula One season. Red Bull Racing recruited the Mexican partly because of his reputation as a ‘tyre whisperer’ during his F1 career. Perez has repeatedly made one stop strategies work throughout the years to improve his start to finish positions while others have struggled to make the tyres last long enough to delver a one stop race strategy.
Yet the birth of the new breed of Formula One cars in 2022 has reset the metrics by how a driver is judged. The wheel sizes have been increased from 13 to 18 inches and the cars have lost around 50% downforce from their aerodynamic packages on the top surface of the chassis.
Perez losing ‘tyre whispeer’ status
The result of the most significant changes in F1 car design regulations for a generation has affected the pecking order within the drivers’ championship.
Perez competitive advantage as a driver who can eek out the tyre wear disappeared completely during the 2022 season. The Mexican had completed his first F1 win the previous year by managing the tyres at the Sakhir GP delivering Racing Points first and only F1 win.
However Red Bull’s Helmut Marko now believes Perez former strength has now become his weakness. Marko suggests that in the final race of the 2022 season Sergio failed to outperform Charles LeCelrc in terms of tyre wear.
Red Bull Racing were forced to put their Mexican driver on a two stop strategy given his early efforts to stay ahead of Charles LeClerc and stay with his team mate who was leading the race. Sergio had burned up his tyres too quickly and so his destiny was doomed.
Max steps up
In years gone by, Sergio would have been expected to easily have been the best of the drivers on a one stop strategy. Yet while the Mexican was forced into a two stopper his team mate and rival for 2nd in the drivers’ championship managed to whisper their tyres to the end after just one stop.
Helmut Marko was candid after the race:n “Perez pushed too hard at the beginning of the first stint,”
“As a result, we had to bring him in earlier than planned. Of all the guys at the front, he was the first whose tyres went.
“We were not forced into that early stop by Ferrari. No, we were forced into that early stop by Perez’s own tyre wear.”
Marko believes the F1 driver tyre whisperer accolade has moved from Perez to Max Verstappen.
“Max has gradually become a tyre whisperer,” added Marko. “We give him a certain plan and he executes it optimally.
“In Abu Dhabi, for example, with Max we had already assumed a one-stop. From the same considerations we had gone for a two-stop with Perez, although that first stop of his still came earlier than we expected.”
Perez as Red Bull disappointment
Sergio Perez failure to beat Charles LeClerc to P2 in the drivers’ title was a huge disappointment for the Red Bull Racing team. This failure from the Mexican driver merely marginalises his position in the team even further.
With the signing of Daniel Ricciardo as the third Red Bull Racing driver, the pressure will be surely oh Perez for the upcoming season of 2023.
— Aston Martin Racing (@AMR_Official) December 5, 2022