Red Bull ‘have the right’ to sack Sergio Perez with pace ‘not acceptable’

Michelle Foster
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez looks reflective after the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race. Styria, July 2023.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez looks reflective after the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race. Styria, July 2023.

With one podium in the last five races, Jaime Alguersuari believes Sergio Perez “would not have lasted a year” at Red Bull’s junior team as Helmut Marko would have already swung the axe.

Red Bull have been making headlines in the past week as the team sacked Nyck de Vries from their AlphaTauri squad and put former driver Daniel Ricciardo in the car, that said to be his audition for Perez’s Red Bull seat.

The Aussie has made it clear he wants a “fairytale” ending with Red Bull, with team boss Christian Horner admitting he is gunning for Perez’s seat, but only – he was quick to say – for 2025.

‘Sergio Perez wouldn’t have lasted a year in Red Bull’s junior team’

But with Perez having gone off the boil with his qualifying troubles, meaning he’s bagged just one podium in the last five races, all grands prix that his team-mate Max Verstappen has won, questions about whether Perez will actually be in the Red Bull next season continue.

Former Red Bull junior Alguersuari is somewhat baffled that he’s even still in the car today.

“I have huge respect to Checo,” he told Sky Sports. “I raced with him in F3 and other racing series. I know him really well and the job he has now is very difficult. Max is an extraordinary driver, probably the best in the world right now, he knows the team and car. Checo is struggling big team but I know there is more to come.

“We have to be clear that Checo was never in the junior team. If he was, considering how Helmut Marko judges drivers, he would not have lasted a year.

“You have a winning car and have to use it. I know people will think, ‘what are you saying, your best place was seventh?’ I didn’t have a chance to drive a winning car and I’m just saying your first rival is your team-mate.

“It’s not acceptable that Perez is always half a second or seven-tenths slower. If your team-mate is winning all the races, you have to at least be on the podium, not on your best day being on the podium.

“You have to be closer otherwise they have the right to replace you. There are many drivers on the grid that could definitely be much closer to Max.”

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Sergio Perez’s signing cast a poor light on Red Bull junior programme

Joining Red Bull in 2021, Perez became the first driver from outside of Red Bull’s junior programme to race for the senior team since Mark Webber signed on back in the 2007 season.

While Webber had a long career with the team, as too did Sebastian Vettel, Ricciardo and now Max Verstappen, others have come and gone such as Daniil Kvyat, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon with none of the latter three surviving for very long.

When Albon was dropped his race seat went to Perez instead of a Red Bull junior, while now Ricciardo has been jettisoned back in at AlphaTauri instead of the team turning to a junior driver – Liam Lawson thought to have been leading that charge.

It has Alguersuari questioning Red Bull’s junior programme.

“The fact that Perez is driving for Red Bull shows the Red Bull junior team is not successful,” he said. “The whole idea they told us and the media is they are building champions, or the best drivers they can, to give them an opportunity to drive for AlphaTauri in order for them to get experience.

“For them to go somewhere else to find a driver at Red Bull is already controversial. It doesn’t make sense.

“You are spending millions for years for many drivers to become champions in junior categories, to then go into F1, give them very little chance and cross your fingers you have a good car – otherwise you do nothing in F1 if you don’t have a good car – you are at the back, then cross your fingers you drive for a winning car, which is Red Bull.”

Read next: ‘Hurt’ Nyck de Vries breaks his silence after Red Bull sacking