‘Big question’ facing Red Bull in 2024 with ‘main problem’ highlighted

Thomas Maher
Sergio Perez walks along the pitlane at the Lusail Circuit during the Qatar Grand Prix weekend.

Sergio Perez walks along the pitlane.

Timo Glock believes Sergio Perez is fighting to escape a negative spiral alongside Max Verstappen at Red Bull.

Perez may have had a stronger weekend in Brazil than any weekend since September’s Italian Grand Prix, but still finished off the podium as Max Verstappen romped to yet another victory.

The Mexican driver is closing in on second place in the Drivers’ Championship, but has struggled for pace and consistency alongside Verstappen despite driving the same car the Dutch driver has used with frightening efficiency and speed all year.

Timo Glock suspects reason Sergio Perez struggles continue

Up until 2023, Perez has always been viewed as a reliable and fast pair of hands behind the wheel – only for that consistency to go out the window when the pressure ramped up earlier this year when it looked as though a championship challenge might be possible.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with PlanetF1.com, former F1 racer Timo Glock believes Perez has entered a negative spiral mentally – one that he’s struggling to pull himself out from.

“The reason why Checo [Perez] can’t keep up with Max, I think it’s mental, at some point,” Glock told PlanetF1.com, with thanks to LuckyBlock.com.

“When he’s sort of realised it doesn’t matter what he does. ‘I just have no chance against Max at the moment’ and he tried harder and harder and harder and that led to mistakes.

“That brings you into that sort of negative spiral which pulls you down and everything that you try to do doesn’t work out.

“On the other side then, this guy just wins every race, being on pole all the time and, again, you can do whatever you want, you just can’t beat him.

“That puts you down mentally in the end and I think that’s the main problem at the moment for Checo.”

With Perez still being assured of his seat at Red Bull in 2024, as both Christian Horner and Helmut Marko continue to maintain, does Glock believe they’re telling the truth and that the possibility of a swap for Daniel Ricciardo isn’t on the cards?

“You can only rely on the comments from Red Bull and what Christian Horner and Dr. Marko say,” he said.

“Every time, they confirm he will be in the car next year. I’m pretty sure it’s going to happen.

“The big question is what’s going to happen in the middle of the year, if he’s not performing, or after a couple of weekends next year? If then he may get replaced by Daniel Ricciardo or whoever.

“There is marketing as well what Red Bull has with Checo – you could see in Mexico he’s just massive and big and that market is very important, for sure, for Red Bull as well. Very important.

“So I think they will keep them in the car for a certain amount of races next year. Then, if he’s not performing, then they might take some action.”

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Timo Glock reveals moment Max Verstappen impressed him most in 2023

With Verstappen scoring enough points to have secured the Constructors’ Championship for Red Bull all by himself, the Dutch driver putting in the most dominant season ever by a driver in F1’s long history isn’t the only feat that impressed Glock.

Pressed for how he’s viewed the Red Bull driver’s season of unquestioned authority at the front of Formula 1, Glock expressed his admiration for what the 26-year-old has achieved.

“Max is, to me, pretty much outstanding,” he said.

“I never thought he would raise the level again, in the year. Last year was already impressive. But, this year, I think he just made another step which you sort of can’t believe how dominant he was this year, in every aspect.

“If it is free practice, if it is qualifying, every time – it doesn’t matter what conditions they are in. He doesn’t make any mistakes, he makes the right calls to his engineer with his team.

“If the car is bad, he still makes the most of it and still wins the races in the end. It’s just very impressive. The whole team is super impressive because you can see the consistency. There is no technical problem on the car, every pitstop is spot on.”

But it was Verstappen’s immediate response to the team’s poor showing in Singapore – the only race Red Bull haven’t won so far this year – that impressed the German driver the most.

“The most impressive thing, for me, was when he came back out of Singapore,” he said.

“I was in Singapore, and then in Japan. Red Bull had a bad weekend in Singapore, of course, they were not happy – the car was not performing like they expected.

“Then he turns up in Japan at Suzuka and then, in FP1, on the first lap on hard tyres, he smashed a laptime in on Lap 1 which is like two seconds quicker than the rest of the field.

“We’re still talking about the 20 best F1 drivers and that this guy shows up and just goes two seconds quicker than everyone else on Lap 1. It’s just the way he wanted to put up his finger and say ‘Listen, guys, I’m still the boss here,’ – it was very impressive to me.

“Since Singapore, I think he was, every session, P1. That just shows the commitment that he has. That’s very impressive.”

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