Much has been written about the genius design of the RB19 and how it is smashing Formula One records set for decades. The Red Bull team have just ten races remaining to post an unbeatable all time record of winning every race within a season.
Yet the reality is the RB19 in the hands of Max Verstappen looks a completely different animal from the same car Sergio Perez is driving.
Perez form ‘collapses’
The Mexican driver held ambitions of winning the drivers’ championship as he won two of the first four races this season, but has since seen his team mate win the next eight and fallen 125 points behind Max.
Checo is still second in the driver’s title race though he is less than 42 points clear of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton who will be pushing hard to beat the Red Bull driver by the end of the season.
Such is the gulf between the Red Bull team mates much has been written about Perez immediate future. He has a contract with the world champions for next season, but as Daniel Ricciardo can testify, if he doesn’t deliver it will mean nothing.
Red Bull booted rookie Nyck de Vries replacing him with Daniel Ricciardo because as Christian Horner explains he was never looking like a contender for the seat alongside Verstappen.
Horner warning to RBR drivers
“The whole purpose of AlphaTauri and Toro Rosso before was to be training drivers as potential candidates for Red Bull Racing,” explained Horner.
“That’s why, with Nyck [de Vries], it didn’t feel like he was going to be a Red Bull Racing candidate, so then the argument you put is, does it make sense to keep going?”
The logical conclusion is Red Bull believe Daniel Ricciardo is a better option to fill the role alongside Max Verstappen and he has been given the rest of the year in the AlphTauri team to prove his worth.
Despite Christian Horner repeatedly stating the team’s commitment to Perez for next year, there will come a point when the team must decide in a potentially closer title battle in 2014 whether Checo can deliver the results that will see the team retain its constructors’ title.
Horner states Checo could be out
However the Red Bull boss’s latest comments suggest neither Perez or Ricciardo is guaranteed the Red Bull seat and even AlphTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda may not make the transition to the senior team.
“If Checo delivers, we’ll keep going with Checo. If he doesn’t, for whatever reason, that won’t be just restricted to AlphaTauri drivers. Because there’s an awful lot of drivers up and down the pit lane that would like to drive a Red Bull car.”
Horner does give hope to Ricciardo who will be 35 next season by adding, “I don’t see age as a barrier.
“When I see what Fernando Alonso is doing, and Lewis Hamilton. It’s all about what’s up here [in the mind] that counts,” he concluded.
Red Bull spoken to Lando Norris
Zak Brown has recently been defending his McLaren team’s progress vociferously and even this week claimed his team was a better place to be than at Red Bull Racing.
“You look down the grid, there’s as many unknowns about ’26. Red Bull with a new engine, how’s that going to be? They’ve never done that before. There’s all sorts of variables going on there and I think our story is as good as anyone’s.”
The McLaren boss is rightly vocal about retaining Lando Norris given Red Bull have revealed they have spoken to the British driver on more than one occasion in recent times.
“We’ve talked to Lando a couple of times over the years, but every time we’ve had a conversation, he’s signed a contract with McLaren the next day,” Horner revealed.
Perez understands his target
And of course Norris is clearly in the ascendency of his F1 career whilst Perez’s days in the sport are clearly numbered.
Yet the Red Bull team boss’s words on the dismissal of De Vries should be taken as a warning to Checo that he needs to deliver over the rest of the 2023 season.
Following his second place in Belgium, Sergio appears to understand his targets for the remainder of the season when speaking to the press he revealed:
Checo eyes another Singapore win
“I really look forward to not leaving the podium any more from now until the end of the year. It’s been a bit of a rough patch, but we have overcome and today we managed to score great points for the team,” said the Mexican driver.
Perez tally of six Grand Prix wins stands in contrast to Daniel Ricciardo’s eight, but the Mexican driver was outstanding in last years Singapore Grand Prix and his specialist street circuit skills will see him hope to increase his race win tally within three re=aces of the resumption from the summer break.
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 22, 2023