Anyone who believes Red Bull are deliberately sabotaging Sergio Perez by giving him inferior equipment to Max Verstappen “doesn’t know anything at all about Formula 1”, says Peter Windsor.
Perez started this year’s championship seemingly on a par with Verstappen as the Red Bull teammates swapped wins and runner-up results in the opening rounds with Perez just six points behind the reigning World Champion after his second win of the season in Azerbaijan.
But while Verstappen responded to that loss by locking out his teammate as he strung together a run of nine race wins, racing out to a 138-point lead in the Drivers’ standings, Perez has managed just four podiums and only once – Miami – finished within 10 seconds of his teammate.
Would Red Bull give Sergio Perez inferior equipment to favour Max Verstappen?
Such has been Verstappen’s advantage over his teammate, never mind the chasing pack, Toto Wolff called it “odd, bizarre”, adding that he “cannot comprehend” how the Dutchman has so effectively “destroyed every single teammate” he has had.
The Mercedes motorsport boss’s comments raised questions, and not for the first time, about whether Red Bull are favouring Verstappen at Perez’s expense.
Windsor, a former Ferrari and Williams team manager, is adamant no team would ever do that.
“In my experience in Formula 1,” he said in his latest YouTube stream, “there is no way a team would ever deliberately run a slower second car, they would always try to run the best two cars they possibly could because of the Constructors’ Championship, and because it’s so difficult in racing to master all the variables and to win a race.
“The last thing you want to do is compromise that with anything that is in your control, like the preparation of a car, or the parts that go into a car.
“And every race Red Bull, for sure, Christian Horner would be thinking, ‘If Max has a problem here we’ve got to make sure Perez wins this race.’ And he’s not going to do that if he’s giving Perez inferior equipment.
“So we’ve seen that does work well, and we’ve seen that Perez occasionally, when Max has a problem, can win a race. And sometimes he can beat Max on a good day.
“Anyone who thinks that Perez has been given deliberately inferior equipment, in my opinion, doesn’t know anything at all about Formula 1.”
The difference between Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen
Windsor instead believes it is their driving styles that set the teammates apart with Verstappen, especially in the wet, having a “softness of touch” that Perez lacks.
Throw in different lines into, through, and out of corners, and that’s what “it’s all about”, he says.
“I don’t think they are different,” he said, pointing out “how different Max drives to Perez at important places, entries to corners, turning points to corners etc.
“And that just the tip of the iceberg in the differences between the two because what I can never, and what nobody can really tell, is what Max is doing with his hands and his arms and his feet in the cockpit, and that’s the real difference is that softness of touch.
“That’s something that shows up in the wet. In terms of line in the wet, and that lovely rate of input that he has, that perfect rate of input, and that’s something Perez doesn’t have and that’s what it’s all about.”