Being Max Verstappen’s teammate must be a thankless job indeed. With Red Bull Racing centred around their Dutch champion, it’s a tall order to try and challenge him, but Sergio Perez believes he can do it next year, despite the horrendous F1 season he experienced in 2023. This is just one of the astonishing claims made by the Perez clan.
Red Bull Racing’s driver Sergio Perez has expressed his unwavering belief that he can win the 2024 World Championship, despite his recent performance issues. Perez’s assertion is based on the expectation that Red Bull will continue to provide him with championship-winning machinery, building on their current competitive streak.
Perez: “I can beat Max”
These claims may seem ambitious given Perez’s rollercoaster season in 2023. He started the year in phenomenal form, winning two of the first four races and positioning himself as an early title contender.
However, his title challenge faded as Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen enjoyed a dominant campaign, breaking records with ten consecutive Grand Prix wins between Miami and Monza. This period of Verstappen’s dominance effectively changed the dynamics of the championship.
Perez shared his perspective with Dutch news outlet De Limburger: “I struggled a lot in the summer. At the beginning I was fighting for the title, but from May things changed. I was riding without confidence. At one point I just couldn’t get out. It was very tough…”
Perez: “I’m 100% again!”
The Mexican driver also acknowledged the pressure that comes with being part of a top team, but he didn’t back down. He persevered and worked closely with his engineers to overcome the challenges he faced. Perez’s confidence was restored when he realised that he could win races on his own merits.
Now confident and determined, he claims, “I dare say I’m 100 per cent again. And I also have the conviction that I can have a shot at the title next year.”
If Perez is to realise his ambitions and challenge Verstappen for the 2024 title, he’ll need to regain his momentum before the season concludes in Abu Dhabi. While a strong performance in Monza hinted at a resurgence, he has suffered setbacks with a Q2 exit in Singapore and a challenging race in Suzuka.
With just six races remaining in the season and a significant points deficit to Verstappen, Perez faces an uphill battle. Verstappen could secure his third world title if Perez fails to score maximum points in the remaining races.
Perez’s father claims Red Bull’s Max favouritism
Sergio Perez’s father, Antonio Perez Garibay, has raised questions about favouritism within the Red Bull Racing team, suggesting that the 2023 Red Bull F1 car has been tailored to suit Max Verstappen’s driving style to the detriment of Perez.
While Verstappen has dominated this year’s championship with an impressive 13 wins from 16 races, Perez’s season has been a mixed bag. He started the year strongly, taking two wins in the first four races.
However, his form diminished, with a notable dip in performance after narrowly missing out on victory in Miami despite starting on pole, with Verstappen in ninth place.
Perez endured a difficult period, failing to qualify for Q3 in five consecutive races, while Verstappen enjoyed an unbeaten run of 10 wins.
Red Bull favours Max?
In light of these developments, questions have been raised about Perez’s future at Red Bull, and recent comments from his father have added fuel to the debate about favouritism within the team.
Perez Garibay pointed out that the Red Bull car appears to be tailored to Verstappen’s driving style, with an emphasis on front-end grip, which is in line with Verstappen’s preferences. In contrast, Perez, who is known for his rear grip style, may have struggled with the car’s set-up.
“Checo continues to battle. The car is set for Max because he drives with all the grip at the front and Checo has done it all the time with the grip at the back,” he told ESTO.
Sergio has to earn it
He emphasised that Red Bull’s entire structure seems to revolve around maximising Verstappen’s championship potential. He acknowledged that only one driver can be the champion, but added that Perez’s role as second driver is crucial for the team.
“The position Checo is in is the one he was hired for, second place…” admits Perez senior,
“There is only one champion and you have to understand that. He has to work for it and respect it.
“All this was built for Max to be a champion and you have to understand and respect it.
“If he moved to another team he could be fourth or sixth.”
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