Nico Rosberg stirs the pot with new ‘dream’ Red Bull candidate identified

Oliver Harden
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez hops out of his Red Bull after crashing out of the Qatar sprint race.

Nico Rosberg, the 2016 F1 World Champion, believes Alex Albon would be a “dream candidate” to replace under-pressure Sergio Perez at Red Bull next season. 

Perez’s Red Bull seat has come under huge scrutiny in light of a dramatic mid-season implosion, which saw the Mexican failed to make Q3 for five straight races between Monaco and Silverstone.

After a disastrous race in Japan last month, where he suffered his first retirement of 2023, Perez’s woes continued in Qatar where he crashed out of the sprint race and could only recover to 10th place in the grand prix on the weekend team-mate Max Verstappen secured his third consecutive World Championship.

Nico Rosberg backing Alex Albon to replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull

Despite holding a contract until the end of 2024, rumours have persisted that Perez may lose his seat before the start of next season with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner issuing a firm warning to his underperforming driver in Qatar.

Rosberg believes Albon, who has rebuilt his career at Williams after a bruising 18-month spell as Verstappen’s team-mate in 2019/20, is the outstanding candidate to succeed Perez in 2024 – but acknowledges that the 27-year-old’s contract would be a major hurdle to a Red Bull return.

He told Sky F1: “Logan Sargeant [Albon’s Williams team-mate] is another one of those drivers who’s on shaky ground and really needs to prove himself, but he’s been making too many mistakes so honestly I think it’s going to be difficult for him to retain that seat for next year, especially because Albon is doing such a phenomenal job.

“Albon would also be a dream candidate actually for the Red Bull mother team for next year to replace Sergio Perez but unfortunately, as Helmut Marko was saying, Albon is locked in with a long-term contract there at Williams.”

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After establishing a fine reputation in karting, Albon enjoyed an excellent start to his F1 career with Red Bull junior team Toro Rosso in 2019 and was promoted to Red Bull halfway through his debut season.

The Thai driver struggled for pace and consistency alongside Verstappen, claiming just two podiums at Mugello and Bahrain in 2020 before being demoted to a reserve role to make way for Perez, who was released by Racing Point (now Aston Martin) despite taking his first grand prix victory at the penultimate race in Sakhir.

Perez has won a total of five races in Red Bull colours, including two of the opening four rounds of 2023 in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan, with all occurring at street circuits.

Perez sat just six points behind Verstappen after winning at Baku in April, but currently sits an insurmountable 209 adrift with five races remaining.

Currently seventh in the Constructors’ Championship, Williams remain on course to record their highest finish since 2017 with Albon scoring all of the team’s 23 points so far.

Read next: Ranked: The five drivers fighting for Sergio Perez’s Red Bull seat