Perez’s difficulties adapting to the upgraded RB19 car have not only affected his individual performance but also posed questions about the dynamic within Red Bull Racing, particularly when one driver is substantially outperforming the other.
It remains to be seen how Red Bull will handle this internal team conflict as the season progresses in the public setting. Will they offer Perez the support he needs to turn what’s left of this season around, or will the continued struggles lead to a reconsideration of his future with the team? If reports from Brazil are to be believed, the latter is unsurprisingly becoming more likely.
Red Bull Racing has reportedly given its second driver, Sergio “Checo” Perez, an ultimatum that could potentially end his tenure with the championship-winning team.
According to reports from Globo, Perez has been told that he must finish second in each of the final five races of the 2023 season in order to keep his seat for the 2024 campaign. The dramatic move comes despite Perez having a contract in place for next year.
The report suggests that Perez has “exhausted RBR’s patience”, meaning that the stakes have never been higher for the Mexican driver. The team’s demand reflects an underlying dissatisfaction with his performance, even though he’s currently second in the Drivers’ Championship, 30 points behind seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and only behind teammate Max Verstappen.
Ricciardo waiting for his chance
Daniel Ricciardo has been touted as a likely candidate to take Perez’s seat if he fails to meet Red Bull’s stringent criteria. Ricciardo, who previously drove for Red Bull and made a mid-season return from injury with sister team AlphaTauri, is set to return to action at next weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin.
His experience and past performances make him a viable option for Red Bull.
Liam Lawson: The backup plan for AlphaTauri
If Ricciardo does move to Red Bull, AlphaTauri appears to have a contingency plan. Rookie Liam Lawson, who stepped in as Ricciardo’s replacement and has been impressive, could fill the void. His performance makes him a reliable full-time option for the team, further complicating Perez’s precarious position.
Despite the pressure, Sergio Perez still has an important opportunity to prove himself. He’s an accomplished driver with six Formula 1 Grand Prix wins under his belt. The final races of the season offer him the chance to remind everyone – especially his team – of the talent that has made him one of the sport’s most respected figures, certainly when looking back to his time at Racing Point.
With so much in flux, the next five races will be a high-stakes game of musical chairs for Red Bull Racing and its drivers. Perez’s ultimatum, if true, adds another layer of drama to a season that has already had its fair share of twists and turns.
As the teams prepare for the 2024 season, all eyes will be on Perez to see if he can rise to the occasion or if a new chapter in the Red Bull Racing saga is about to begin.
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