Christian Horner seemingly at odds with Helmut Marko over Sergio Perez’s future

Michelle Foster
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez looks reflective after the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race. Styria, July 2023.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez looks reflective after the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race. Styria, July 2023.

Christian Horner appears to be at odds with Helmut Marko over Sergio Perez’s future with the Red Bull team boss once again insisting there’s a contract, and it will be honoured.

That’s a very different line to Marko’s “nothing is 100 percent certain in Formula 1” that he said ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix weekend.

While Max Verstappen raced to his 11th win of this season, ninth on the trot, at the Dutch Grand Prix, Perez was off the podium in fourth place after being penalised for speeding in the pit lane.

Sergio Perez ‘will be’ a Red Bull driver in 2024

The divide between the teammates on the track translates to a 138-point gap in the Drivers’ standings with Verstappen comfortably strolling to a third World title while Perez is, according to Marko, facing an uncertain future.

Speaking ahead of the Zandvoort weekend, Marko told Kleine Zeitung that “there are always performance-related situations somewhere that need to be discussed” and that the Red Bull bosses will soon “discuss how to proceed” with their 2024 line-up.

However, in sharp contrast, Horner has come out saying Perez is guaranteed a Red Bull seat for 2024.

“Checo’s situation for next year is clear,” the team boss said as per “He’s a Red Bull Racing driver. We have an agreement with him.

“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 [which cost Perez a five-second penalty that dropped him off the podium to fourth].

“He’s second in the World Championship, he’s the only driver rather than Max to have won grands prix this year.

“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.” recommends

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Sergio Perez is dealing with an ‘unenviable job’

The team boss believes Perez is dealing with an “unenviable job” being compared to Verstappen week in and week out.

The 25-year-old has been in prolific form with 11 grands prix wins, two sprint victories, eight pole positions, and six fastest laps. He’s also been on the podium in every grand prix as well as the sprint races.

“Max is in a period of his career where he’s just simply untouchable and I don’t think there’s any driver on the grid that would be able to achieve what he’s been doing in that car,” Horner added.

“Being his teammate is probably in some respects the most unenviable job to have because the barometer is so high.

“You’ve got to look at the performance on the timesheet and the results sheet. If Max hadn’t been there, Checo would have won another four or five races.

“So, he’s doing his job. He’s second in the World Championship. You saw his performance today. He was unlucky to get the speeding fine. And hopefully, he can add to his wins before the end of the year.”

But while Horner was playing good cop, Marko was continuing to say Perez’s future is performance-based.

“We have a commitment with him,” he said. “He has to finish second in the championship, we have a contract.”

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