Christian Horner has outlined where he believes Sergio Perez needs to make a significant step forward for 2024.
Perez is entering the final year of his current Red Bull deal, having survived a season in which speculation had it that he was set to lose his seat at any moment for Daniel Ricciardo as the Australian returned to F1 with AlphaTauri.
While Perez had a tough mid-season, he improved towards season end in order to secure second place in the Drivers’ Championship, and his team boss has outlined the areas in which he needs to dig deep and improve for 2024.
Christian Horner: Sergio Perez has to sort his Saturdays out
Many of Perez’s problems stemmed from his Saturday performances, with the Mexican driver eliminated in Q2 for an astonishing five consecutive races between Monaco and Silverstone. His average qualifying position was ninth, having failed to make it into Q3 on nine occasions.
Starting from so low down inevitably led to some racing incidents and some poorer race results than might be expected in the car that went on to become F1’s most dominant machine, and Horner said qualifying is where Perez needs to find more consistency.
“I think the last few races he’s had a bit of a reset,” Horner told Sky F1.
“His pace, when you look at the analysis through [the Abu Dhabi GP] weekend, again was very, very strong. He’s just got to sort his Saturdays out.
“His race pace is there, his racecraft is fantastic, he’s probably overtaken more cars than anybody this year.
“But we just need him to be starting in the first four rather than ninth or 10th, whatever his average has been over the last few races.”
Christian Horner: Sergio Perez knows 2024 is a big year
With Perez needing to impress Red Bull from the get-go in 2024, particularly as Horner has made it clear he expects a closer competition and thus will need Perez firing on all cylinders to a greater extent than in ’23, the team boss has outlined previously how the 2025 Red Bull seat is Perez’s to lose.
To that end, he urged the Mexican driver to mentally reset and come back fresh for a stronger season as contract negotiations begin.
“He still finished second in this world championship and won some great races and put in some great drives,” he said.
“But I think he knows where these areas to improve are, I think a little bit of a reset in terms of how he goes about his racing next year as well.
“He knows it’s a big year for him. He’ll take a bit of time this winter to reflect on where he needs to improve and I’m sure he’ll come back fighting next year.”