Christian Horner issues under-pressure Sergio Perez with firm F1 2024 warning

Jamie Woodhouse
Sergio Perez, Red Bull, walks through the paddock.

Red Bull's Sergio Perez at the Spanish Grand Prix.

As Red Bull team boss Christian Horner surveys the scene across rival intra-team battles, he says Sergio Perez must re-find his form to narrow the performance deficit to Max Verstappen significantly. 

The F1 2023 titles are now secured for Red Bull, a dominant campaign having led to the early capture of the Constructors’ title while Verstappen stormed to a third Drivers’ Championship, though it is not all smooth sailing at Red Bull right now.

While one side of the garage is thriving, the other is a case of anything but with Perez seemingly crumbling.

Sergio Perez told he must up his game

Perez has now had back-to-back “shocker” races as Horner terms it, the Mexican having picked up a trio of five-second penalties last time out in Qatar for track limits violations, resulting in a P10 finish.

Red Bull expect the competition to intensify next season, and as Horner looks at the McLaren pairing of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, plus the Mercedes and Ferrari line-ups, he sees team-mates on pretty even terms, meaning they cannot afford Perez to remain so far adrift of Verstappen.

“The other teams are working as a pair, sometimes that becomes a bit confrontational as we saw today,” Horner told Sky F1, in reference to the first-lap crash between Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

“But you know Mercedes, it’s very tight between their pair, Ferrari is very tight between their pair, Oscar, what a great job he’s doing as a rookie, very tight with Lando.

“We really need Checo to get into that window because it’s not this year so much, but certainly next year, we need him to be firing on all cylinders.” recommends

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Despite mounting speculation that Perez may not see out his Red Bull deal, Horner once more gave his commitment for Perez to continue into F1 2024, the final season of his current contract.

But, with Norris having been consistently linked to his seat, Horner also threw Piastri into the mix, as well as AlphaTauri options Daniel Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda and Liam Lawson, meaning Red Bull are not limited on alternatives if Perez cannot get his career back on track.

For now, though, they will give him the support to do that.

“Well Lando obviously he’s under contract, Oscar you’d be saying as well, he’s under contract as well,” said Horner.

“So all these drivers under contract, we’ve got AlphaTauri as well, but we have a contract with Sergio and we’re not seeing the best of Sergio.

“We need to unpick what it is that’s causing this slump in form for him and we’re going to support him as much as we can to achieve that.”

Perez is now under major threat from Lewis Hamilton in the battle to finish P2 in the Drivers’ Championship, Hamilton having narrowed the deficit to 30 points.

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