Martin Brundle gives ‘painful to watch’ verdict as Sergio Perez Red Bull future questioned

Henry Valantine
Sergio Perez on the grid in Barcelona.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez on the grid in Barcelona.

Martin Brundle admitted seeing Sergio Perez go through a “torrid time” of late has been “painful to watch”, with the Red Bull driver struggling for form.

Perez has picked up just 15 points in the last six races for Red Bull, and was lapped twice at Silverstone at the weekend as a gamble to move to intermediate tyres backfired as early rain did not fall any harder than anticipated – leaving him on incorrect tyres for the conditions and out of points contention.

Martin Brundle: Sergio Perez going through ‘torrid time’ with recent form

Concerns over the form of Perez have even led to questions over his future with Red Bull, despite having signed a new two-year deal with the team earlier this season.

Brundle pointed to two near-identical moments for the two Red Bull drivers that summed up the differences in luck the pair are having alongside their pace this season, but added that if Perez did not have the backing he brings with him to the team from a commercial perspective, there is a chance they may have looked elsewhere for Verstappen’s next team-mate – though added the “balancing point” comes with wanting him on the grid for his home race later this year.

“It’s painful to watch, isn’t it?” Brundle said on the Sky Sports F1 podcast about Perez’s recent form.

“I asked Christian Horner in press on Friday, did he regret signing Sergio up so early again? Christian thought was a brutal question, but I thought it was a relevant question at the time.

“And he more or less said ‘look, we thought he was going through some difficult times, we thought the security of a new contract would calm things down a little bit and he’d be off again as he’s done in the past and get it back together’, but he’s going through a torrid time.

How has Sergio Perez matched up to Max Verstappen this season?

👉 F1 2024: Head-to-head qualifying record between team-mates

👉 F1 2024: Head-to-head race statistics between team-mates

“A good example is in qualifying. Both Red Bulls went off at Copse when it was raining a bit, almost in an identical way.

“Sergio ended up backwards into the gravel and out of qualifying, Max somehow kept it all pointing in the right direction, tippytoed through the gravel, broke a bit of the underneath of the car, onto the service road, lived for another day – and that’s the difference when it’s running for you and you’re confident. You’re on top of the game, you sort it out.

“When it’s not, you have that silly clumsy spin, and I can relate to that completely.

“So he must think ‘what’s going to happen to me next?’, you know, and when they had a totally dominant car, he could be a couple of [or] three tenths off Max, there was nobody to fill the gap.

“Now there are two McLarens, now two Mercedes Benz, and from time to time, some Ferraris to fill the gap between him and his team-mate, and that’s putting him under pressure, and that pressure is then just making it far worse.

“To score 15 points in a Red Bull in six races, as you said, is shocking, and we’ve seen that team biff off Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly, Jean-Eric Vergne, and many, many other young drivers, despite going far better than that.

“So we know that it’s commercially attractive to them, we know that he’s a good foil for Max, he’s normally fast enough to do a good job and bring some relevant information.

“Not fast enough to bother Max particularly, and it works for them and they’ve won both championships. But all of a sudden, they’ve got some rivals on hand.

“They can’t comfortably win the Constructors’ title without Sergio being on tip top form, and so the ground rules are changed in that respect, and you wonder how long they’ll be able to cope with this.

“But you know, with the sponsorship, with Red Bull’s commerciality in North and South America, with the Mexican Grand Prix yet to come, would you really not want Sergio Perez on the grid? So that’s the balancing point.

“If he was ‘Driver B’, and none of that commerciality or nationality or whatever mattered, they would have replaced him, wouldn’t they? Let’s be honest.”

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