Martin Brundle believes Red Bull will support Sergio Perez in his bid to rediscover his lost form as the team doesn’t want to look for a replacement that could bring “volatility”.
Although Perez was quick out of the blocks this season, the Mexican driver winning two of the opening four races to sit just six points behind Max Verstappen, it began to fall apart after Azerbaijan.
What followed was a Miami Grand Prix in which Perez, the pole-sitter, was overtaken on the track by Verstappen despite the Dutchman having lined up ninth on the grid after car troubles in qualifying.
With pressure mounting, Perez began to make mistakes, crashing in qualifying for the Monaco and Spanish Grands Prix and unable to find the pace in Canada to get out of Q2.
Unlike Verstappen, he wasn’t able to recover from his lowly grid slots and scored just 20 points in those three races while Verstappen scored 76 to race out to a 69-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship.
It has some pundits suggesting Perez’s days at Red Bull could be numbered, Le Mans winner Richard Bradley telling the On Track GP podcast: “Let’s be honest, Red Bull is the least secure seat on the grid.”
Brundle, though, believes Red Bull will continue to back the 33-year-old as he can’t see anyone on the grid aside from Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton being able to take the fight to Verstappen.
And they aren’t options as Red Bull wouldn’t want to court “volatility” within the team.
“Perez impressively won two of the first four races this season,” Brundle wrote in his latest Sky Sports F1 column.
“Importantly with Verstappen second to him each time, but it has all fallen apart since Max came from ninth on the grid in Miami to comfortably beat pole-sitting Sergio.
“Perez will need all his maturity and experience, along with team and family support, to turn his head around and start delivering his speed and potential.
“I suspect only Alonso and Hamilton would have the head to cope with Verstappen at this moment and I doubt Red Bull would want that volatility in their team.
“The team’s perfect scenario would be Sergio to finish a close second to Max every race, and win when Max can’t.
“The trouble is that, as Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon found out, fine young drivers get buried alongside the Dutchman’s speed.
“At the same time, Red Bull can’t have Perez off form when Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin inevitably home in on them. That’s why they’ll support him all the way.”
Falling short of the podium at the Canadian Grand Prix, Perez’s P2 in the Drivers’ Championship is under threat with Alonso just nine points off the pace with Hamilton a further 15 down.