Sergio Perez future is now the current story grabbing the Formula One headlines as the team’s return form their summer break. Despite previous assertions that Checo’s seat alongside Max Verstappen is safe for 2024, Dr. Helmut Marko now suggests this is not necessarily the case.
Having met with Daniel Ricciardo for a meal in Gratz, the Red Bull consultant when asked about Sergio’s guarantee of continuing with Red Bull next year, the Austrian revealed:
Marko casts doubt on Perez future
“Nothing is 100 percent certain in Formula 1,” Marko told Kleine Zeitung. “It just doesn’t exist,” added Marko emphatically.
“There are always performance-related situations somewhere that need to be discussed. We’ll take a look and discuss how to proceed in Zandvoort, then we’ll know more,” Red Bull consultant added.
Perez is under pressure because unlike in previous F1 eras when a team has an all dominant car, their drivers regularly come home 1-2 in the races.
Ex-F1 driver and Sky F1 presenter Karun Chandhok explains:
Ex-F1 driver says Perez not doing enough
“For a big part of the season there’s lots of people at home saying, ‘Red Bull are just dominating’.
“It’s not. It’s Max who is really making the difference,” explained Chandhok.
“Think of dominant cars. The Fw14B [Williams] with Mansell… Pareses was always second.
“The Schumacher years…. Barrichello was always second.
“Here, that’s not the case [with Perez]. Its Max who has really been the stand out performer in that team,” Karun observes.
Perez blames RB19 upgrades
However Sergio Perez believes this is not the case and suggests it is the way the team developed the RB19 which caused his loss of form.
When questioned in a media session as to whether the upgrades to the RB19 had ruined his early season successes, Checo replied:
“Yeah, I feel like that, but I’m not where I want to be yet.
“In the beginning of the season, things were coming a lot more naturally to me.
“I believe that we will only keep improving from now. It was quite important to finish [the first half of the season] strong, especially the last two races.
Sergio overdriving to challenge Verstaoppen
As early as the Australian GP, Sergio was complaining about the car and the difficulty he had in braking. During the first qualifying session in Melbourne he left the track and beached the car which saw him start the race plumb last.
“As the car developed, I struggled a little bit more things were not coming naturally anymore. I had to [analyse] my driving style, adapt to it quite a bit and change it because the car has simply changed,” the Mexican driver claimed.
The reality may be more to do with Perez overdriving the car in his attempt to beat Max to the 2023 world drivers’ title. His downfall came while he was close to his team mate in the driver standings and after he’d won two Grand Prix to raise the spectre of a first ever Mexican F1 world champion.
Checo 0.5 seconds slower than Verstappen in Zandvoort
During practice one in Zandvoort, Verstappen set the quickest time with a time of 1:11:852. Perez was a distant fourth behind Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton and almost half a second slower than his team mate.
Further, the McLaren cars were running aero tests and are expected to be ahead of the midfield come the later practice sessions and qualifying.
So Sergio Perez has his work cut out for him this weekend to prove he is back and driving consistently as his two previous podiums in Hungary and Belgium suggested before the mid summer break.
A slightly early end to the session for Hulkenberg after this spin 💥
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 25, 2023