How Christian Horner’s money ended in Bernie Ecclestone’s pocket over Sergio Perez bet

Thomas Maher
Sergio Perez and Christian Horner, Red Bull, 2024 Japanese Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez and Christian Horner after the Japanese Grand Prix.

Christian Horner made a bet with Sergio Perez in Japan, but it was Bernie Ecclestone who took the money from it…

A cheeky bet made between Horner and Perez ahead of qualifying at Suzuka was won by the Mexican driver, but former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone was the net beneficiary, to Horner’s surprise.

Sergio Perez bet with Christian Horner revealed

Perez proved a threat for pole position on Saturday at Suzuka, losing out to Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen by just over half a tenth.

With Red Bull locking out the front row, a jubilant Perez came on team radio to have a joke with his crew. Horner congratulated Perez and good-naturedly admonished him for having won a bet that has cost the team boss “a few quid today”.

With Perez having won the unknown bet, he laughed back at his boss to say: “Now you see how to motivate me”.

Horner replied wryly saying, “Haha, well I’ve always known that!” before Perez’s race engineer Hugh Bird said, “It’s very nice of you to share that with me and Woody”, with Perez signing off by saying, “Absolutely, and all the boys”.

On race day, Perez maintained his second place behind Verstappen as the two Red Bull streaked away at the front, marking the Milton Keynes-based squad’s third 1-2 from four races.

Speaking to media afterward, a relaxed and happy Horner wouldn’t reveal how many quid exactly he’d lost as a result of the bet, but said: “It was enough!”

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How Bernie Ecclestone benefitted from Christian Horner bet

But as for what the bet actually was, Horner said it had been with his driver to secure his best-ever grid slot at Suzuka and nail down a Red Bull 1-2 at a circuit where the team seemed to have no genuine idea of how competitive they were following Friday’s truncated practice.

“I had a bet with him, because his best qualifying performance had been P4 here,” Horner explained.

“So I had a bet with him to put it on the front row.”

But, despite Perez coming out on top of Horner to win some money, the team boss explained how Ecclestone, the former F1 boss, had actually benefitted as Perez repaid a debt to him as a result of winning the bet with Horner.

“Somehow, having won the bet, [Perez] told me that he owed Bernie Ecclestone exactly the same amount of money,” Horner laughed.

“So it has passed the bet on to Bernie who was the beneficiary from Checo’s front row, so dear old Bernie is still making money while not even being here!”

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