Christian Horner hits back at Sergio Perez as he’s drawn into Carlos Sainz contract battle

Sergio Perez's Red Bull F1 contract expires at the end of 2024, with Carlos Sainz axed by Ferrari for 2025

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Christian Horner has praised Carlos Sainz as a key player in the 2025 Formula 1 driver market while dampening Sergio Perez‘s optimism that he could be announcing a Red Bull contract extension soon.

Arriving at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix weekend, Perez revealed conversations have already started to continue his stay in Milton Keynes beyond the end of his current deal in 2024, believing it ‘only a matter of time’ after Fernando Alonso re-signed at Aston Martin.

However, Alonso‘s not the only Spaniard in contention to be Max Verstappen‘s teammate in 2025 – Sainz has also been linked with the seat though Helmut Marko recently said Audi have made him an offer that Red Bull can’t match as they prepare to take over Sauber.

“As far as other drivers, there is pure speculation,” Christian Horner told members of the press including Total-Motorsport.com. “We have no idea if and what Audi have offered Carlos, who’s key driver that’s on the open market and so it’s only natural that there’s going to be significant interest.

“I’m sure Audi would be foolish not to consider a driver of his quality amongst others that have seats available, but it would be improper to disclose what offers are made. That’s something that’s not been disclosed to us as to what offers have been made from other teams.”

Horner: Perez would sign tomorrow if he could

2023 Monaco GP winner Sergio Perez on the podium alongside Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, team principal Christian Horner and Carlos Sainz of Ferrari| Clive Rose/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Perez‘s prospects of retaining his Red Bull seat have improved since the start of the start of the season, boosted in particular by his strong Japanese GP performance. However, Horner has repeatedly said Red Bull aren’t close to announcing a decision on their lineup, blunting Perez‘s enthusiasm.

“Of course, he would like to make an announcement tomorrow undoubtedly,” Horner added. “But we as a team aren’t in a particular rush.

“We’re in a fortunate position where many drivers would obviously like to drive for the team, we’re happy with the pairing that we have we just want to make sure that the level of consistency that Checo has started with maintains and in due course we’ll we’ll evaluate those options.

“But as I say, at this point in time we’re very happy with the lineup that we have, so there’s no imminent rush to announce drivers that the full driver lineup for 2025.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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