Pundit calls ‘ridiculous’ on claims Red Bull are sabotaging Sergio Perez to favour Max Verstappen

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez stares awkwardly at Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen after their titanic battle in the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race. Styria, July 2023.

Sergio Perez stares awkwardly at Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen after their titanic battle in the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race. Styria, July 2023.

Red Bull are not sabotaging Sergio Perez to make Max Verstappen look better, the Dutchman is just naturally the more attacking driver says Peter Windsor.

Bouncing back from his recent qualifying struggles, Perez lined up second on the Belgian Grand Prix grid with his team-mate Verstappen P6, a gearbox penalty costing him pole position with the driver having been eight-tenths up on the chasing pack in qualifying.

Perez got the jump on pole-sitter Charles Leclerc but with Verstappen P2 by lap nine, and only three seconds behind his team-mate, it seemed inevitable he’d take the lead and the win.

Peter Windsor: None of it is real

He did just that on lap 17 and with clean air ahead immediately dropped Perez out of DRS range before going on to win the race by 22 seconds over the Red Bull driver.

It has Perez’s sponsors crying foul.

Carlos Slim’s son-in-law, Artura Elias Ayub, claimed after the Belgian Grand Prix that “Verstappen can’t make such a difference”, that “such a difference can’t be made only by a driver”, and therefore “Max’s car has to be much quicker than the other” driven by Perez.

That has been refuted by former Williams and Ferrari team manager Peter Windsor, who questioned Ayub’s complaints.

“There were definite moments, particularly when Max and Checo were together when you could see the difference in the corners,” he said in his latest YouTube stream.

“Not that I normally get involved in this sort of stuff, but I think it’s probably quite a big deal.

“Now there’s this guy who is the son-in-law of Carlos Slim, who is [one of] the wealthiest men in the world, Mexican, and through Checo is one of the sponsors of the Red Bull team, and after Spa he did a big TV interview on Fox Latin America, and these are some of the things he said.

“‘Verstappen can’t make such a different’, ‘such a difference can’t be made only by a driver’, and ‘”Max’s car has to be much quicker than the other’.

“That’s caused, as you would imagine, the Mexican media has jumped on that and they’re really going for it and Checo I’m sure will in his own quiet way be fanning the flames in the background.

“But none of it’s real, and even if it was real, well even if you wanted to try to understand the point of view where, let’s put it this way, where and how are they actually messing around with Checo’s car and not giving him a proper race car? What are they doing?

“Apparently they think they’re giving him old bits, old parts and the car’s overweight. But that’s it really, I can’t think they can think of any more than that.”

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Peter Windsor: A ridiculous suggestion

The Briton is adamant no team would deliberately sabotage one of their driver’s chances of success.

“Now the concept of Red Bull, racers as they are, knowing that Max could have a problem at any minute at any race because that’s the way Formula One is and that then they want their other car to be winning the race if possible, the concept of Red Bull actually deliberately making Checo’s car heavier, or fitting old bits that are going to break or something, is just so ridiculous.

“I’ve worked for Formula One for Ferrari and Williams, and I can tell you now there is absolutely no way in the world you would ever compromise the performance of a car deliberately.

“You might err on the side of safety when it comes to a gauge or something when you want a bit stronger, but no ‘we don’t want this car to be too quick so we’re going to slow it down’.

“Maybe, occasionally in the history of the sport, there have been examples of strategy coming into play and a quick driver has been told to come in when he doesn’t want to come in and then the pit stop maybe takes longer than it should, I’m not talking about that either because there are no real indications of that happening at Red Bull at all.”

Windsor went on to cite the various reasons Verstappen not only caught Perez but built up a 22-second lead over his team-mate.

“I’m intrigued to know what Mr. Ayub actually thinks Red Bull was doing to make Checo’s car slower than Max’s on the basis that he must think that Checo is as quick as Max.”

Using “Red Bull Media Hub for their own photographs” to prove his point, he explained that in general Verstappen uses “less road, less energy” than his team-mate “so he’s going to have better tyre management straightaway” and “he’s going to get a straight exit sooner.

“I’d be interested to get Mr. Ayub’s opinion of this. He’d probably say ‘Oh, well that’s because Max’s car is set up to do that.'”

Verstappen leads the Drivers’ Championship by 125 points ahead of Perez.

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