A new year and perhaps a new gentler Helmut Marko after the Austrian declared it is “quite possible” Sergio Perez could remain a Red Bull driver in 2025.
Last season as his title hopes disintegrated along with his qualifying form, Perez found himself the subject line in many a rumour and they all covered the same topic.
His days with Red Bull, it was speculated, were numbered.
Could Red Bull continue with Sergio Perez as Max Verstappen’s 2025 team-mate?
As he battled to hold on to P2 in the championship, never mind fight Max Verstappen for wins, even Marko jumped on the will he/won’t he be around in 2024 bandwagon.
But despite finishing the season with only two wins to Verstappen’s 19, and nine podiums to his 22, Perez did manage to finish runner-up in the Drivers’ Championship and will continue with Red Bull this season.
Marko says it’s not inconceivable to think he won’t still be around next year.
“If Checo has a good season,” Marko said to sport.de, “it is quite possible that the line-up in 2025 will also consist of Verstappen and Perez.”
Red Bull’s options for 2025 have recently be reduced by four with Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris re-signing with their respective teams, while Lewis Hamilton is set to join Ferrari, and Williams have issued a public hands-off when it comes to Alex Albon who does have a 2025 contract.
The team, though, does have two options, three if one includes Yuki Tsunoda, of their own. Former Red Bull race winner Daniel Ricciardo is continuing with VCARB this season while Liam Lawson has his foot in the door as the team’s official reserve driver.
Sergio Perez undone by ‘sort it out yourself’ answer
Former F1 driver John Watson believes the first step Red Bull have to take to get the best out of Perez is to put an arm around his shoulder.
Last season Auto Motor und Sport claimed Perez wanted to go back to an older spec RB19 as he said the “driving characteristics no longer suited my driving style”.
That request was denied by Red Bull.
“I think that some drivers are more needing of an arm around the shoulder and consoling,” Watson told Motor Sport Magazine. “And there are some that are as tough as tungsten and they just get on and do it their own way.”
“Maybe Sergio doesn’t like the set-up. And I think he did ask maybe at one of the most recent Grand Prix, ‘Can I go back to the car that I was enjoying racing earlier in the year?’. And I think that request was denied.
“I think the argument would be, and I’m only supposing this, is because the team would say, ‘Where we were back in March or April to where we are in September or October, the car is maybe half a second a lap quicker. I’m not going to give you a car half a second a lap slower because you can’t get your head around the current car. Sort it out yourself’.”