Mark Webber throws ‘heavily distracted’ Sergio Perez lifeline to save Red Bull career

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull's Sergio Perez pictured during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.

Red Bull's Sergio Perez pictured during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.

Former Red Bull racer Mark Webber feels Sergio Perez was “heavily distracted” in Qatar, though one “half-decent race” could help him escape this negative spiral.

Ever since his title challenge crumbled in the early stages of F1 2023, Perez’s season has featured alarming slumps and semi-recoveries, though his latest decline is perhaps the most concerning yet.

The Mexican racer has been incurring penalty after penalty in recent rounds, that including causing collisions with Alex Albon in Singapore and Kevin Magnussen in Japan, while he picked up three five-second penalties during the Qatar Grand Prix for track limits violations.

Sergio Perez has chance of Red Bull recovery with “half-decent race”

While earlier in the season Red Bull principal Christian Horner was very reluctant to demand more from Perez, that tone is starting to change, with Horner having described that Qatar outing as a “shocker”, as he did in Japan, while making it clear that Perez must close the gulf in performance to Max Verstappen for next season.

Webber then was asked by Channel 4 presenter Steve Jones whether we are “seeing the unravelling of Checo? Because it’s not good viewing”.

Webber, in response, claimed Perez was “heavily distracted” at the wheel of the RB19, and questions whether that is just down to destroyed confidence, or something else being at play in his mind.

“I think that he was just again heavily distracted tonight,” said Webber.

“Not operating a grand prix car, putting it in the window it needs to be for lap after lap after lap, whether his mind’s somewhere, he’s just shattered with confidence?” recommends

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Talk understandably has now bubbled up again regarding Perez’s future with Red Bull, and whether he will be afforded until the end of his current deal which expires after F1 2024.

Webber though does not believe Perez is necessarily finished yet. If he can stop the rot and deliver just one steady performance, Webber thinks that can be the springboard for Perez to return to his level of earlier in the season, where he claimed two wins in the opening four grands prix and generally was a lot closer to Verstappen.

“If he can get himself one half-decent weekend, I think he’s a chance to get back to himself at the start of the season,” Webber claimed.

“But ultimately, right now, he cannot take a trick to compound by the mistakes [sic], and it’s tricky times for him.”

Perez is now looking over his shoulder at Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time World Champion only 30 points behind in the battle for P2 in the Drivers’ Championship.

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