In a plot twist of note, Sergio Perez has now cast doubt over whether he even wants to continue with Red Bull beyond 2024, the driver saying he wants to be at a team where he feels he “can contribute”.
Having begun this season as a championship contender, Perez just six points behind Max Verstappen after his second win of the campaign in Azerbaijan, the Mexican driver is now facing an uncertain future with his performances under near-constant scrutiny
Perez has a contract until the end of the 2024 season, and it is now in this campaign that Perez has admitted he has his own decision to make rather than something that is completely in the hands of Red Bull to decide.
Sergio Perez talks ‘alternatives’ in 2024
The main reason for the continued speculation surrounding Perez is because of an apparent split in the Red Bull camp. Helmut Marko is keeping the door open for a driver change as early as next season, while Red Bull boss Christian Horner keeps slamming that same door shut.
Speaking to Kleine Zeitung after the summer break, 80-year-old Marko said of his driver’s future: “Nothing is 100 percent certain in Formula 1, it just doesn’t exist.”
He doubled down on that to OE24, saying that while for “now” Perez has a contract, it is not a “job guarantee” but a “contractual” one. That opens the door for Perez to be shunted down to AlphaTauri or even paid not to race.
But while his team boss Christian Horner has at least been giving him more assurance, adamant Perez “will” be a Red Bull driver next season, it seems Perez is ready to take matters into his own hands next year.
“I think that now, with the season we’ve had, it’s important in the next races to be in an environment where I feel I can contribute,” formu1a.uno quotes him as having told DAZN.
“And if that place in 2024 isn’t here, then we have to look for alternatives.”
For now, he insists Red Bull has his full attention as he looks to help the team wrap up the Constructors’ Championship while bringing home second place in the Drivers’ standings.
“But for now,” he continued, “my main focus is to stay here and win more races. And keep on winning championships with Red Bull.
“As you say, I have a contract for next year. So, at some stage next year, we’ll see.”
What 2024 options would Sergio Perez have if Red Bull let him go?
While Perez is ready to ponder his options next season ahead of the F1 2025 season, he will be hoping he can get to that point as the remaining F1 2024 options are looking very slim should Red Bull decide to exit the deal early.
There are just three seats open for next season; Alfa Romeo-Sauber, Williams, and AlphaTauri.
It’s highly unlikely Perez would agree to drop to AlphaTauri, Red Bull’s junior team, while Williams do seem intent on keeping faith with Logan Sargeant.
But a return to Sauber to replace Zhou Guanyu? Now that would be a homecoming given he made his Formula 1 debut with the Hinwil team back in 2011.
It is, however, another reunion that would most likely lead to more success and excite not only the driver but the paddock as a whole – Aston Martin.
Perez had his best years in Formula 1 with Force India/Racing Point before he was dropped after the 2020 season to keep a seat open for the team owner’s son, Lance Stroll.
Wouldn’t it be poetic justice for Perez to now take the Canadian’s seat, especially as Stroll hasn’t achieved the results Aston Martin probably would’ve secured if Perez had been retained.
The most likely scenario, though, is Perez stays at Red Bull for at least one more season. After that? Well that’s the fun part which is sure to play a starring role in the next F1 silly season.