Sergio Perez may yet continue with Red Bull next season as Jacques Villeneuve reckons they don’t “care” who’s alongside Max Verstappen so long as they don’t “cause trouble”.
A lot has been said about Perez and his position at Red Bull over the past few months, much of that coming from Helmut Marko.
While the team’s motorsport advisor has confirmed Perez does have a contract for next season, the driver having signed a two-year deal in May last year, that doesn’t mean he’ll be racing a Red Bull.
Jacques Villeneuve reveals Red Bull’s only concern
Although Marko said after the Belgian Grand Prix that all Perez needed to do was finish runner-up to Verstappen to retain his seat, he returned from the summer break having done a U-Turn while talking up Daniel Ricciardo’s impact at AlphaTauri.
Weeks later it is all about Lando Norris with Marko saying the McLaren driver would “suit” Red Bull “in terms of youth and speed”. But, he acknowledged, Norris is contracted to McLaren until the end of 2025.
That could be good news for Perez’s immediate future with Villeneuve saying he can’t see Red Bull putting someone in the second car who may want to challenge Verstappen for the number one spot.
“I don’t think they care. They have Max,” the Canadian said as per Motorsport.com. “At the moment Max can win, they are comfortably ahead.
“They are getting the image they want. Why should they bother and sign a young guy who wants to show that he is the new World Champion and cause trouble?”
And according to Marko, that’s a dream that Perez has woken up from.
“He has now woken up from his World Championship dream,” he said of his driver. “Maybe that will help him to focus again on delivering the best possible performance.”
But while Red Bull will be happy to continue with Perez, Villeneuve reckons Verstappen may actually want a stronger teammate to challenge himself again, someone like Lewis Hamilton.
“I think Max would probably want Lewis,” said the 1997 World Champion. “Of course so he can show the world that he can beat Lewis. That would be his ultimate goal.
“He would probably want that, but I’m not sure Red Bull would want that.”
However, even if Verstappen did want Hamilton as a teammate that won’t happen any time soon, if ever, as last week Mercedes confirmed Hamilton had extended for a further two seasons with the Brackley squad.
It could be the Briton’s final contract as he’ll be a month away from his 41st birthday when that contract expires.