Sergio Perez has fresh title hopes going into F1 2024, but should he fail to land a Red Bull contract extension a different racing door has been opened wide.
Perez felt the wrath of Verstappen on track to a devastating level in 2023, his two victories in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan coming in the opening four rounds before Verstappen unleased a rampage to finish with 19 grand prix wins in total.
Perez was able to satisfy Red Bull’s wishes by ensuring their first one-two finish in the Drivers’ Championship, but with Verstappen scoring more than double the points Perez did it was a bruising season for the Mexican racer, who at various stages fell off the pace to a point where questions were being asked over his Red Bull future.
Formula E wants Sergio Perez
Red Bull rallied against the questioning of Perez’s future to confirm that he will remain with the team for F1 2024, but now into the last year of his contract the pressure is on with the likes of Daniel Ricciardo searching for a Red Bull 2025 opening.
If Red Bull do indeed decide to take a different route, Perez is already being offered the chance to do the same with Formula E chief Alberto Longo thrusting the door open and inviting Perez to walk through.
“I talk to Checo constantly and I hope he makes a leap to the real competition,” Longo is widely reported as telling AS.
“Formula E is his home, the doors are open to him and he is welcome.”
At this stage Perez remains fully committed to Formula 1 and achieving what no Verstappen team-mate has been able to do in beating the Dutchman to the title.
However, Perez and his potential successors were recently warned by Verstappen’s first team boss in Formula 1, Franz Tost.
The former Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri team principal bluntly declared that no Verstappen team-mate will ever progress beyond being the number two driver.
Asked by F1-Insider.com whether he sees any driver who could take the fight to Verstappen in the future, Tost confidently replied: “No.
“If Max continues to have a good car, he will win many more races and titles. He’s still not at the limit and he’s only going to get better.
“No driver who is or will be his team-mate will ever get beyond the role of a number two driver.”
Perez has won six grands prix in his F1 career, five of those coming with Red Bull.