Christian Horner believes Sergio Perez has the most enviable job in Formula 1 as teammate to Max Verstappen and also made a clear statement on the Mexican’s future at Red Bull.
Perez trails the Dutchman by 138 points in the drivers’ championship but is the only driver other than Verstappen to taste victory so far in 2023, powered by the so-far invincible RB19.
Despite being under contract at Red Bull until the end of 2024, there had been rumours he’d be replaced at the team, possibly by Daniel Ricciardo before the Australian broke his wrist at the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix.
“Checo’s situation for next year is clear,” Horner told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com. “He’s a Red Bull Racing driver and we have an agreement with him with, and irrelevant of agreements we’re pleased with the job that he’s doing.
“You saw his drive today, he was unlucky with the pit lane speed limiter and he’s second in the world championship.”
Horner: Perez has most enviable job in F1
Perez once again started out of position at Zandvoort, qualifying behind five different teams and 1.3 seconds off Verstappen.
However, Perez made swift progress through the field and looked on course for a confidence-boosting podium before his race completely fell apart in the final few laps.
He skated off the track at turn one as rain bucketed down, before being called to pit for wet tyres seconds before the race was red-flagged, and was then penalised for speeding in the pitlane.
That left Perez in a frustrating fourth place – despite driving the car that’s won every single grand prix of 2023 he’s finished off the podium in nearly half of races so far.
“He’s the only driver other than Max that’s won grand prix this year,” Horner added. “Being his teammate is probably, in some respects, the most enviable job to have because the barometer is, is so high.
“It’s easy to beat up on him when the barometer is so high on the other side, but he will be our driver in 2024.”