Christian Horner jokes about Sergio Perez form as Red Bull expectation revealed

Thomas Maher
Sergio Perez, Red Bull, 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.

Christian Horner says Red Bull are fully happy with Sergio Perez, but are awaiting consistency before making a contract decision.

Christian Horner has revealed what Red Bull is waiting to see from Sergio Perez before making a decision on a new contract.

Sergio Perez has had a great start to the 2024 F1 season, with the Mexican driver fighting to remain with the Red Bull team as his current contract expires at the end of this year.

Christian Horner cracks joke about Sergio Perez form

Perez has finished second to Max Verstappen at three of the four races held so far this year and finished a calm fifth in Australia after suffering aerodynamic loss from debris getting stuck under his car.

Occupying second in the Drivers’ Championship behind his teammate, Perez is thus doing exactly the job expected of him as his team weighs up whether or not to keep him on for next year and beyond or to sign a new name.

On Thursday in China, a relaxed Perez said he expects talks to be quite easy and he’s expecting a decision to be made as soon as over the coming weeks as the driver market swirls – even at this early point in the season.

Speaking to the media in Shanghai on Friday, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said there are no plans to rush into a new deal or make a decision any time soon.

“Not very, I’m afraid,” he said when asked if Red Bull is close to an announcement.

“It’s incredible that we’re at race five and there’s so much talk already about drivers for for next year. We’re in a situation where we’re very happy with our two drivers.

“But we don’t need to make a final decision about the lineup until much later in the year.

“So, obviously, Max is on a long-term contract anyway. Checo [Perez] out of contract this year, but he’s been driving exceptionally well so far this season.”

Asked why Perez is driving so strongly after enduring a difficult 2023 at the wheel of the dominant RB19, Horner grinned.

“Probably because he’s out of contract!” he laughed, before answering more seriously.

“No, I think he’s worked hard over the winter. He’s come in with a change, perhaps slightly to his approach to Grand Prix weekends and he’s been very close in the four races so far this season.

“Particularly at a track like Suzuka that, last year, he struggled quite a bit but certainly, this year, was very competitive.”

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Christian Horner reveals Sergio Perez consistency requirement

Put to him that Perez is concentrating more on his own performance and getting the most out of himself, rather than looking across the garage at Verstappen and what the reigning World Champion is achieving, Horner said he suspects that’s the case.

“That pretty much sums it up,” he said.

“Both guys get the same equipment at their disposal. I think Checo has been working hard behind the scenes, he’s put a lot of a lot of hours in on the sim and his approach going into a Grand Prix weekend and set up and so on has converged with his teammate.

“He’s applying himself well and has driven some good races so far this year.”

One key factor in assessing whether or not to keep Perez on is based on consistency, with Horner saying Red Bull has to see whether or not the Mexican driver can maintain his current performance level for longer.

“Of course, he would like to make an announcement tomorrow undoubtedly but we, as a team, aren’t in a particular rush,” he said.

“We’re in a fortunate position where many drivers would obviously like to drive for the team. We’re happy with the pairing that we have, we just want to make sure that the level of consistency that Checo started with this season maintains.

“In due course, we’ll evaluate those options but, at this point in time, we’re very happy with the lineup that we have. So there’s no imminent rush to announce the full driver lineup for 2025.”

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