Guenther Steiner questions Sergio Perez’s stay after Red Bull’s past ‘off with their heads’ approach

Michelle Foster
Guenther Steiner and Sergio Perez

Guenther Steiner is perplexed that Red Bull are continuing with Sergio Perez

Guenther Steiner admits he’s perplexed as to why Red Bull will reportedly retain Sergio Perez for next season given he could cost them in the Constructors’ Championship.

Perez held onto his Red Bull seat for this year’s championship with his P2 finish last year as he handed the team their first-ever 1-2 in the Drivers’ standings while contributing towards their latest teams’ trophy.

Guenther Steiner questions Sergio Perez’s longevity

But after a solid start to the season where he was thrice runner-up to Max Verstappen in the opening four races, he hasn’t been on the podium in the last three Grands Prix and didn’t make it into qualifying’s Q3 in the last two events.

Falling to fifth in the Drivers’ standings where he trails Verstappen by 62 points, Perez has the biggest deficit to his team-mate out of the top three teams.

It means Red Bull’s position as Constructors’ Championship leader is under threat with the team a mere 24 points ahead of Ferrari after eight races.

Steiner reckons if the teams started on zero today, given Ferrari and McLaren’s steps forward coupled with Perez’s form, Red Bull would “not” win the teams’ trophy.

“If we started at zero [now] no, I don’t think they would,” Steiner told The Red Flags podcast.

“Because as a team, if you take the points Checo compared to his team-mate percentage-wise and you compare the other two teams, as teams they’re better set up with the drivers.

“Obviously, Checo is not a bad driver, the others are just closer together.”

With that in mind, Steiner was asked by the podcast hosts why Red Bull continue with the Mexican driver given Red Bull’s past “off with their heads” approach.

“It’s one of those questions I ask myself sometimes,” he replied. “It’s like why don’t you give another guy a chance, you know?

“I mean Tsunoda is doing a fantastic job I think in the RB team, he’s doing a fantastic job there. Now it looks like Perez is renewed for next year, but you’ve got options out there like Sainz. Albon was out there but now obviously he’s not out there because he signed for Williams.

“But it’s one of those things… I don’t really know.

“Maybe that attitude changes by not having the dominant car anymore because you need both drivers to score points because the other two teams they’ve got this year Carlos and Leclerc, and McLaren has Piastri who finished second in Monte Carlo and Norris, we don’t have to question him.

“So maybe something changes in the way of Red Bull’s thinking but there is not, except Carlos, I don’t think there are many choices out there anymore.”

The 2024 championship standings without Red Bull

👉 The F1 2024 Drivers’ Championship standings without Max Verstappen

👉 Revealed: The F1 2024 Constructors’ Championship without Red Bull

Guenther Steiner denies Red Bull decline

However, the former Haas team boss was quick to deny that Red Bull are in a decline. Instead, he believes Ferrari and McLaren have closed the gap.

“I wouldn’t call it a Red Bull decline because I think it’s a catch-up of the other ones. I don’t think they’re getting slower or worse, it’s just the other ones are catching up,” he said.

“Obviously now, with Red Bull being challenged they have to take more risks, they are more on edge, they make more mistakes.

“It’s like life in general, when you’re hunted down it’s easier to make a mistake. But when you’re out there or everything is good even if I’m making a mistake it’s still good.

“So now I think it’s getting more challenging and they will make mistakes, there will be problems with the car and they will have to work.

“I don’t think it’s a decline. The other two have caught up.”

He added: “If you hope that somebody is starting to go slow, especially Red Bull, I don’t think that will happen guys. That is not gonna happen. But the other ones, they’re good teams and they’ve caught up quite a bit now.”

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