The speculation surrounding the future of Formula One driver Sergio Perez grows with each passing Formula One weekend and Red Bull have fuelled the rumours with their latest social media post. Perez failed again last time out in Qatar, crashing out during the Sprint and receiving three time penalties during the Grand Prix from the stewards which saw him claim just one point.
McLaren have now outscored Red Bull over the last three rounds of the 2023 F1 championship, something unthinkable for the world champions should that form continue into next season.
Perez threatened with the sack
Following the chaos in Qatar, report suggest Perez has been told he will lose if drive with the team, should he fail to secure P2 in the drivers’ championship. Checo is being hunted down by Lewis Hamilton for the runners up spot and the seven times champion is now just thirty points behind the Mexican.
Following the news that the Belgium Grand Prix has been given another reprieve by FOM and will now remain on the calendar until 2025, Red Bull Racing posted a throw back picture on X.
The image carefully selected features Max Verstappen and his former team mate Daniel Ricciardo sitting in camping chairs chatting amiably at the top of the famous Eau Rouge corner.
— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) October 13, 2023
Ricciardo had success alongside Max
Daniel Ricciardo is the only driver Red Bull have paired with Max Verstappen who has challenged the now three times world champion. Ricciardo raced alongside the Dutch driver for close to three seasons and was only beaten by Max in their final year together.
After being dumped by McLaren with a year remaining on his contract, Ricciardo was snapped up by Red Bull as their reserve driver for 2023 in a move many believed was intended to put the pressure on Sergio Perez.
Then after just ten races this season the sister team Alpha Tauri sacked rookie Nyck de Vries and Danny was recruited to drive alongside Yuki Tsunoda for the rest of the season. Despite not having raced a current F1 car for almost eight months , the Aussie favourite was quickly matching and surpassing the pace of his Japanese team mate, then in practice at Zandvoort Daniel broke his hand during Friday practice as he crashed into a strain McLaren at turn 3.
Ricciardo is set to return this coming weekend for the USA Grand Prix in Austin Texas, where he famously rode into the paddock on a horse dressed as a cowboy. Meanwhile all eyes will be on Sergio Perez this weekend who must qualify and score a decent haul of points but the Sprint format will not help Checo get comfortable before qualifying begins in the second track session.
Albon’s star in the ascendency
Red Bull have not been shy to promote and replace their drivers with impunity as De Vries found to his misfortune this year. And one of those drivers was Alex Albon who had a meteoric rise from his F1 rookie status and now drives for Williams.
Albon was plucked from his Nissan E-Dams contract and recruited to racer alongside Daniil Kvyat in the Scuderia Toro Rosso team (now AlphaTauri). Such was the Thai driver’s pace he was promoted following the Hungarian Grand Prix to the Red Bull seat occupied by Pierre Gasly, who then returned to Toro Rosso having failed to prove a good number two for Verstappen.
Alex continued driving for Red Bull in 2020, though he scored just around half there points of Verstappen and was dropped to the role of reserve driver the following season and Sergio Perez was recruited from the Racing Point/Aston Martin team.
The following year Williams signed Alex Albon who quickly proved his talent in an underperforming car. This year Albon has led the charge for the historic British team scoring all 23 points for Williams which now sees them comfortably ahead of their rivals in 7th place in the constructors’ table.
Alex tipped as Perez replacement
Albon is now 13th in the driver standings and is the highest placed driver from all the teams outside the top 6 and has now been tipped to replace Perez at Red Bull Racing.
“Albon would also be a dream candidate actually for the Red Bull mother team for next year to replace Sergio Perez but unfortunately, as Helmut Marko was saying, Albon is locked in with a long-term contract there at Williams,” commented 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg.
Yet as McLaren demonstrated with Ricciardo and Red Bull with De Vries this year, contracts are merely a form a financial protection for the team holding them. Were Red Bull to decide Albon is the right driver to put alongside Verstappen for 2024 then a mere contract would not prevent this from becoming reality.
Albon himself revealed during the Qatar weekend that all the drivers know Red Bull have an open offer on the table for Lando Norris, should he wish to leave McLaren and join the world champions.
Norris ruled out of Red Bull
With McLaren coming good this year, Norris is likely to stay with the team for at least one more year and has a contract which would see him through to the end of 2025 should he wish to remain there until then.
Brazilian publication Globo reported this week that a source close the Sergio Perez personal sponsor Telmex was claiming Checo would announce his retirement at the Mexican Grand Prix. Further, the organisers were planning a big farewell party at the event which is set for the weekend after the coming race in Texas.
Albon to Red Bull would indeed be a SHOCK move. But given Ricciardo has been out for several weeks and now has just five races remaining to demonstrate he is worthy of the seat alongside Max next year, Albon could be seen as less of a gamble having raced all year and is surely capable of delivering more points than Perez.