Sergio Perez Red Bull future worry as key bosses warn time’s up

Helmut Marko and Christian Horner both suggested they will look elsewhere for a second driver

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Sergio Perez’s Red Bull future is under threat once again as key figures hint that they could be set to promote Daniel Ricciardo to the main team to partner Max Verstappen after a poor run of form for the Mexican driver.

Despite agreeing a new contract just weeks ago, the 34-year-old has been told by Christian Horner and Helmut Marko to up his game or risk being dumped into the driver market as Red Bull come under pressure from McLaren and Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.

Perez has been on a barren run of form since his podium at the 2024 Miami Grand Prix back in May. Since then, the ex-Force India man’s results have been eighth, DNF, DNF, eighth and seventh as he’s fallen behind his rivals in a bid to be best of the rest behind his teammate.

So his team have lost a net 28 points to McLaren as Verstappen is essentially fighting off Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri’s papaya cars single-handedly through the 2024 Formula 1 season, although he has impressively managed to still edge clear of Zak Brown’s men with standout performances in Canada and Imola.

It’s far from what Horner, team principal of the team, expected from his driver and if anything, the early contract seemed to be specifically to avoid the form that Perez now finds himself stranded in as F1 moves through Europe.

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner and Sergio Perez ahead of the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner and Sergio Perez ahead of the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“We thought the contract would help. It’s something Checo is working very hard on, and he knows,” Horner told Sky Sports F1 at the 2024 British Grand Prix. “This is a sport where there’s no hiding, particularly with Max Verstappen as your teammate.

“He knows he’s being measured against the very best. We need him up there, supporting Max. There’s two McLarens, two Ferraris, two Mercedes and we desperately need two Red Bulls.”

Quite a daunting warning from the 50-year-old boss of Perez, who did manage to respond to the comments in Free Practice 2, hosted at the famous Silverstone circuit by finishing third fastest behind both McLarens with a healthy gap to Verstappen.

When could Perez be out of Red Bull seat?

Perez’s downturn in form has been coupled with an upturn in form for RB’s Daniel Ricciardo, who raced for Red Bull between 2014-2018 before rejoining as a contracted driver in 2023 following his McLaren exit.

Ricciardo qualified fifth at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and was fewer than a couple of tenths away from pole, whilst he’s gone on to finish in the points twice since and has beaten Yuki Tsunoda for the previous three rounds of the F1 season.

It means the Australian, who has won eight races in his career, clawed back the head-to-head against his Japanese teammate to 5-4 for the season in Sunday races whilst the 35-year-old also has the impressive performance in the 2024 Miami GP Sprint Race on his CV too.

That makes him an attractive prospect to Helmut Marko, and it’s the senior figure who suggested a decision on Perez’s Red Bull future could come within the next six weeks as he told AMuS, “We’ll know more by the summer break.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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