Much has been written about the potential for flare up between the two Red Bull team mates. Verstappen and Perez are expected to duel it out during the 2023 Formula one season as the sole protagonists in the hunt for the drivers’ world championship.
Bolstered by his recent victory in Jeddah, Perez told reporters he believed the team was genuinely set up to support both its drivers chase for w world title.
Perez criticises Red Bull history
“When I first came to the team [ahead of the 2021 season], things were very different. Basically, they were just going racing with two cars because they had to,” Perez told assembled reporters.
Perez is referring to the commonly held view prior to his arrival that the team’s efforts each year revolved around Max Verstappen’s efforts leaving him to carry the burden for the entire campaign.
For Red Bull to win a constructor’s title, it was argued they needed a team mate for Max capable of being as good as the ‘best of the rest’ behind the Dutchman and scoring good points week in and out.
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Verstappen team mates not up to the job
Following the departure of Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull tried their junior drivers alongside Verstappen but to no avail.
Neither Daniil Kvyat, Pierre Gasly and then Alex Albon were able to stay with Verstappen and Sergio suggests part of the problem was because the team were prioritising Max when building the cars.
When asked about his drivers’ comments, Red Bull boss Christian Horner dismissed them out of hand stating the team has treated all its drivers equally.
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Horner dismisses Perez’s opinion
“That’s the first I’ve heard him saying that. We always have run two cars since we entered the sport in 2005 and we always want to have the best two drivers that we can in the car,” he told pit lane reporters.
Of course Red Bull has been the centre of driver ‘favouritism’ accusations since the days of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. The multi-21 in Malaysia 2013 best exemplified this when Vettel was instructed to hold station his ‘number 2’ team mate and disobeyed team orders.
The team failed to criticise or sanction Vettel for his actions leading to accusations of favouritism.
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Red Bull decisions based on each situation
Christian Horner claims the team makes decisions based on how each driver is performing on any given day rather then because of favouritism.
“As a team we’ve always strived to give both drivers the best opportunity and the best equipment we can,” he added.
“Then it’s down to what they do on track and that’s whether it’s Max and Checo, or Daniel and Max or Daniel and Seb, Mark and Seb or even going back David Coulthard and Mark Webber.”
Perez’s comments reflect his struggles
In the subtext Christian Horner explains Checo’s comments are a reflexion of the struggles he faced the joining the team.
“It’s great to see Checo doing a great job now. In ’21 he came into the car off the back of the COVID season and at the end of a set of regulations, and he struggled with that car.
“Last year, he was definitely more at home within the car and he put in two of our 17 victories achieved. And he’s got out of the blocks well again this year, but we’re only two races into the season and there’s an awful long, long way to go.”
Christian Horner was clearly blind sided when presented with Sergio Perez’s observations and may wish to remind his driver to look to his own performance and let the team take care of theirs.
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