Revealed: The ‘categorical’ information surrounding Sergio Perez’s Red Bull future

Michelle Foster
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez faces questions from the media at the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez faces questions from the media.

Nearing the end of another weekend with no Sergio Perez announcement, Martin Brundle says he has been “categorically told” by people in the know there’s no ultimatum that he has to finish second in the championship.

Slumping to a five-race qualifying spiral that ran from Monaco to Silverstone, Perez currently finds himself in a second slump for this season alone.

Failing to make it onto the podium in the last five Grands Prix, the Mexican driver holds a slender 20-point lead over Lewis Hamilton in the race to finish runner-up in the standings.

Is it P2 or bust for Sergio Perez?

That’s led to suggestions should Perez fall short of the target and deny Red Bull a much-wanted maiden 1-2 result, he could be dropped in favour of Daniel Ricciardo.

The Aussie returned to the Red Bull fold this season lighting the fires of speculation with his quest to return to the senior team bolstered by his seventh-placed finish at the Mexican Grand Prix for AlphaTauri.

That his points-scoring result, AlphaTauri’s best performance of the season, coincided with Perez’s lap one crash only added fuel to the fire.

However, Sky Sports’ Brundle insists claiming the runner-up spot is not a necessity for Perez to continue with Red Bull, although it would personally be good for the driver.

“I’ll stand by what I’ve said in the last couple of races,” said the former F1 driver. “I believe Red Bull absolutely want to keep running Sergio Perez next year. They’ll do everything to make that happen.

“There is a contract in place. They don’t want to change for any number of reasons. And that’s what they’re aiming for.

“I don’t believe… I’ve been categorically told by people who know that it’s not about finishing second in the championship, whether it’s an absolutely defining moment for Sergio Perez, but he certainly needs to have three solid races now. Otherwise where’s he at in his own head about going forward?

“But right now, Perez has a Red Bull seat next year. No doubt about it.”

But asked whether Red Bull can afford to continue with Perez given the predictions that next year’s championship will be closer, Brundle replied: “Absolutely, can they take somebody into next season and let’s be honest, if you were looking for a driver now, you probably wouldn’t be signing Sergio Perez.”

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Daniel Ricciardo is ‘a definite candidate’ to replace Sergio Perez

Even if Red Bull do continue with Perez next season, the 33-year-old will have to constantly look over his shoulder with Ricciardo waiting in the wings at AlphaTauri.

Naomi Schiff believes he’s the “quite realistic” candidate to replace Perez if or when the time comes.

“From my perspective, I think possibly quite realistic. At least if you look at the Red Bull camp, the sister team, the talent that they’ve got in their roster, I think he’s probably the most likely next candidate right now,” she said.

“And I think what he’s done in Mexico is a great step in the right direction to prove that actually, Daniel Ricciardo is back to an extent.

“If you look back at the time he had at McLaren, it was quite miserable, and I think we all, including himself, doubted what’s happened to Daniel Ricciardo because he was always a great driver.

“And I think moments like that goes to show that actually, for him at least and every drive is different, but when he’s got the car that pairs well with him he can deliver. And so I think it’s positive for him and I think Red Bull would be looking at a result like that and thinking he’s a definite candidate.”

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