Nico Rosberg urged Red Bull to replace Sergio Perez with a surprise candidate in 2024 saying Alex Albon is the perfect driver to partner Max Verstappen at the team.
Albon endured an ill-fated 15-month spell at Red Bull before sitting out the 2021 Formula 1 season, and recently said he understands Lando Norris has an open invitation to join the team from McLaren.
Sergio Perez does have a Red Bull contract for 2024 and has largely been backed by team principal Christian Horner, but rumours that he will be axed from the team have refused to go away, aided by team adviser Helmut Marko‘s criticism of the Mexican.
“Albon would also be a dream candidate for Red Bull for next year to replace Sergio Perez,” Rosberg told Sky Sports F1. “But unfortunately as Helmut Marko said, he has a long-term contract with Williams.”
Ironically, Rosberg himself caused a similar situation when he retired from F1 straight after winning the 2016 world championship.
Mercedes paid Williams £10 million for Valtteri Bottas when Nico Rosberg announced his shock exit from F1 at the end of the season, leaving the Silver Arrows with an empty seat for 2017.
But it took just six weeks for Mercedes to find his replacement, announcing Bottas‘ signing in mid-January and the Finn went on to finish third that season just 12 points behind Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel.
Sargeant’s future at Williams
Rosberg added he thinks Sargeant will struggle to retain his Williams seat 2024, despite receiving an extremely strong show of support from James Vowles ahead of the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix.
The Williams team principal insisted the team ‘want Sargeant in the car’ for 2023 and added they must take responsibility for the American’s struggles too.
Sargeant was promoted to the team a year ahead of schedule after just a single season of F2, as Nicholas Latifi‘s Williams performances nosedived in 2022 leaving the team with no option to replace him.
However, Sargeant wasn’t able to repay his boss’ faith in Qatar, spinning out of the sprint race before retiring from the grand prix unable to cope with the searing conditions at the Losail International Circuit.
He’s still yet to outqualify Albon in 2023 – the only driver who’s been whitewashed with five races to go – and Rosberg believes that damning comparison will do terminal damage to Sargeant‘s long-term ambitions in F1.
“Sargeant is another one of those drivers who is on shaky ground and really needs to prove himself, but he is making too many mistakes,” Rosberg added. “So honestly I think it will be difficult for him to keep the seat for next year, especially as Albon is doing a phenomenal job.”