Christian Horner dismisses Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez ‘rivalry’ claims

Henry Valantine
Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen and Yuki Tsunoda together. Singapore, September 2023.

Three Red Bull drivers Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen and Yuki Tsunoda walk together.

Christian Horner has stated “there is no rivalry” at Red Bull between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, ahead of the Mexican’s home race.

Verstappen was the subject of booing in Austin from a section of Perez supporters during the podium ceremony last weekend, not believing claims that the “disrespectful” chants were in fact aimed at Texas governor Greg Abbott, who was also on the podium presenting trophies.

The Dutchman confirmed he has been given bodyguards to help protect him, against his own wishes, at his team-mate’s home race, with Verstappen saying he has had an “amazing welcome” so far in Mexico City – though concerns have been raised that the passionate support for Perez may have the effect of going against Verstappen at the same time.

Christian Horner: Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez “get on very well”

Verstappen and Perez both spoke in support of the ‘Racepect’ campaign this weekend, which is aimed at showing respect to all 20 drivers on the grid, no matter how strong the support is for one particular driver.

Perez himself has also dismissed claims of there being a rivalry between the two Red Bull drivers, despite both wanting to beat one another, and Horner backed this claim – wanting to quell any idea that the two are at loggerheads, and putting his support behind the ‘Racepect’ initiative himself.

“Well, first of all, I need to really disappoint you that there is no rivalry between the two drivers,” Horner stated to reporters in Mexico City when asked about the supposed in-team rivalry at Red Bull.

“They actually get on very well, they’ve got on very well for three years and, whilst I’m sure the media would love them to be at each other’s throats, unfortunately for you guys, they aren’t.

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“They work very well together, off track and on track, as we’ve seen on many occasions, and I think it’s a great initiative, this ‘Racepect’ thing, I witnessed it on the way into the circuit today – because it crosses all areas.

“It’s not just about sport, I think it’s life in general and I think there’s always passion associated with sport, which is great.

“Fans will always have their drivers and their teams that they support, and there’s going to be incredible support for Checo here, as there has been for Max in Zandvoort and Belgium, for example, or the British drivers in Silverstone, and that’s their sport.

“I mean, Manchester City play Manchester United this weekend, and I’m sure they’re going to be a pretty vocal crowd there in the UK, and I’m expecting great support for Checo and the team, but respect above everything is important.”

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