The winners and losers from Sergio Perez’s new two-year Red Bull deal

Sam Cooper

Sergio Perez has put pen to paper on a two-year extension to his Red Bull stay, but who are the winners and losers of the deal?

Red Bull ended any speculation over their 2025 line-up by confirming Perez will be driving for the team but it is a move that has had an impact on other members of the paddock.

Winners and losers following Sergio Perez’s Red Bull extension

Winners

Sergio Perez

An obvious place to start is Sergio Perez who went from on the way out in some critics’ minds to the rare position of a multi-year deal.

Red Bull built a reputation of being cut-throat with their treatment of Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly but with Perez, they have often been shown willing to keep the faith.

His first two deals were for a season only but in 2022 they offered Checo a two-year stay to remove any doubt about his future with the team.

By doing so again, Red Bull have given Perez a massive vote of confidence to say they trust him to do what he can do which is be an able deputy to Max Verstappen.

Reassurance about his place in the team may be just the confidence boost the Mexican needs to get his 2024 campaign back on track.

Max Verstappen

Aside from a sometimes tempestuous 2022 season, the relationship between Verstappen and Perez has been overwhelmingly positive.

In Perez’s first year, he went straight into Verstappen’s good books by doing everything in his power to assist with the Dutchman’s title win and even now, Perez is willing to do the dirty work to help his team-mate.

But more importantly, it means Verstappen has exactly what he wants from a team-mate – someone who is often slower but someone good enough to qualify near the top of the grid and help out-tactic their opponents.

Two years of Perez by his side will be nothing but good news for Verstappen and no doubt that relationship will have been a consideration for the Red Bull decision makers.

Christian Horner

If the BBC are to be believed, the tussle for control between Christian Horner and Helmut Marko did not end when the investigation into the Red Bull boss did.

According to the report, Daniel Ricciardo is being kept at RB thanks to Horner while Marko would prefer to promote Liam Lawson but the two men are likely to have disagreed about Perez too.

Marko has been the most vocal critic of the Mexican, going as far as making a xenophobic and incorrect statement last year, and it could be guessed that the 81-year-old would have preferred to put a different driver in the Red Bull seat.

The BBC report also says Marko “has lost power and influence in the internal civil war at Red Bull” and Perez’s extension can be seen as another win for Horner.

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Losers

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo has stated his dream is to retire at Red Bull but now that looks more like fantasy than ever.

When Ricciardo rejoined the Red Bull group for the 2023 season, there were many who thought he was on the path to take Perez’s spot but now, his path looks more destined to be out the door.

While Ricciardo has struggled to find consistency, Perez produced three P2s in four races at the start of the season, giving him 21 times the amount of points the Australian has.

Confirmation that Perez will be staying not just for one but two years has effectively shut the door on Ricciardo’s return and with the drivers being the same age, it is not as if Ricciardo can outlast the Mexican.

The choice now is do Red Bull feel Ricciardo provides enough value to keep him in the RB seat at the expense of Liam Lawson? Our chat with Laurent Mekies suggested Ricciardo brings other elements to the team not just on track but it remains to be seen if that is enough to save him.

Carlos Sainz

In the game of F1 musical chairs, Carlos Sainz is fast finding that there are not many seats left.

At the start of the year, the Spaniard was the grid’s most eligible bachelor with the likes of Red Bull, Mercedes and Audi all options but Perez’s extension is another door closing.

This comes after Fernando Alonso confirmed he would be staying with Aston Martin meaning that Sainz is facing a move to Mercedes or accepting he will not be at a top team next season.

The Audi link is still there but the German manufacturer’s desire to secure the three-time race winner has so far been given the cold shoulder while Italian reports, which should be taken with a grain of salt, are suggesting Mercedes are favouring a promotion for Kimi Antonelli.

Looking down the grid you then find Williams who have one seat available but they have a strong link to Valtteri Bottas and now a new vacancy has arrived at Alpine who have problems of their own to overcome.

Haas look likely to give Oliver Bearman a shot while Sainz may also not want to go to the Banbury-based constructor.

That then leaves Stake but moving there is accepting you will be at the back for at least the 2025 season if not longer.

Yuki Tsunoda

Like his team-mate, Perez’s extension has told Yuki Tsunoda one thing – Red Bull have no intention of prompting you.

Unlike Ricciardo, Tsunoda has started the season strongly and emerged as RB’s leading driver but even with that, there was never any suggestion he was being seriously considered for the Red Bull seat.

Tsunoda’s 71 races for the Red Bull second team puts him top of the list of appearances by drivers never to make the jump up which tells you everything you need to know about the team’s plans for him.

They have had ample opportunity to assess Tsunoda and ultimately decided he is not ready for the promotion meaning a move away from the team by 2026 appears more likely than ever.

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