Sergio Perez told to prepare for ‘media battering’ in wake of Max Verstappen ‘favouritism’

Henry Valantine
Sergio Perez standing in front of Max Verstappen.

Sergio Perez started strongly but fell away as the 2023 season went on.

Johnny Herbert believes Sergio Perez needs to “cocoon” himself from the “battering” that will come from the media and occasionally Red Bull when Max Verstappen outperforms him.

Perez heads into the final year of his current deal with Red Bull in 2024, with Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda in the wings trying to audition for a place alongside Verstappen already within the Red Bull stable.

Team principal Christian Horner has told PlanetF1.com that the seat is for Perez in 2024 and the support of the team is with him, though the onus is on him to perform if he is to earn a new deal.

Johnny Herbert uses Michael Schumacher example to illustrate Sergio Perez situation

Three-time Grand Prix winner Herbert used an example from his own career to paint the picture of how his mindset could be at the moment, with Verstappen having taken the lion’s share of success in Red Bull’s dominant era.

Herbert partnered another of the sport’s greats in Michael Schumacher at Benetton and knew how it felt to play second fiddle there, but he urged Perez to keep his head down and perform as well as he can.

“Michael Schumacher always had favouritism over me even though we were a team – it’s hard to perform when you feel that as Sergio Perez will know,” Herbert told Mega Dice.

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“In all my negotiations with Benetton, Flavio Briatore told me that Michael Schumacher and I were a team, that we worked together and everyone had access to the same information.

“It never worked that way because there tends to be favouritism towards the guy that does deliver.

“When that is there, you feel it and when you feel it that is a hard thing to be able to bat away. As much as Sergio says he ignores it, it does affect you.

“Sergio has got to put himself into a cocoon and deliver every single time with the battering that comes from the media and from within the team on occasion.”

In speaking exclusively to PlanetF1.com recently, Red Bull team boss Horner explained that Perez is the right man for the job – giving him a time window to how he’s still the person the team should entrust with their car beyond the end of the year.

“It’s Checo’s [Perez] seat,” Horner said. “He’s in the car because we believe he’s the right driver now.

“It’s down to him over the next nine months to demonstrate that we feel that way for 2025.

“Of course, we’ve got great talent in the pool with Daniel, with Liam, with Yuki [Tsunoda]. So time will tell.”

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