Red Bull given fourth-fastest team warning as key driver decision looms

Sam Cooper
Sergio Perez looks to the side in the Red Bull garage.

Sergio Perez puts on his helmet in the Red Bull garage.

Red Bull has been warned they cannot take a “passenger” into 2024 with Jenson Button suggesting that without Max Verstappen, they are the fourth-best team on the grid.

While Verstappen’s season has been near perfect, Sergio Perez’s has been anything but. A dismal weekend in Qatar was followed by a P4 at the United States Grand Prix, only bringing more speculation about his future in the team.

Perez has a deal until the end of 2024 but with Red Bull’s rivals cutting the gap every week, the team cannot afford to take a “passenger”, they have been warned.

Red Bull warned about carrying ‘passenger’ Sergio Perez

Speaking during the United States Grand Prix weekend, F1 pundit and former racer Martin Brundle warned Red Bull there would be no margin for error in 2024.

“Red Bull can’t afford to take a passenger into next year because the other teams are coming at them,” he said on Sky Sports F1. “They want exactly the same as what Sergio wants and that’s for him to find his form.

“Certainly I think we all want Sergio to get back on form. I think what I’m flagging up is if he doesn’t do it in these last five races, Red Bull has got a decision to make for next year. If he can’t show he’s got his form back or his mojo, whatever you like to call it, what would you do if you were a Premier League manager or Formula 1 team boss? Are you just going to go ‘Oh that’ll be alright?’”

Red Bull was then further warned by 2009 World Champion Button that they would not be the fastest team if Verstappen was not racing for them.

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“If you take Max out of the equation, Red Bull are the fourth-best team,” Button said. “And that’s the way you’ve got to look at it. Max is making a difference and there is such a big difference between them.”

Team boss Christian Horner has insisted though that Perez will be with the team in 2024 and that is a belief shared by Perez who said that all he can do is “laugh about it.”

“I cannot change anything and am completely focused on my own performance. I have been very busy working with the team lately,” the Mexican said.

“I have a contract and have already had discussions with the team. There is no reason for me not to serve out the contract.”

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