Sergio Perez on Red Bull pressure: ‘There’s a reason a lot of drivers haven’t survived’

Henry Valantine
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez in Saudi Arabia.

Sergio Perez is now in his fourth season as a Red Bull driver.

Sergio Perez explained that the way Red Bull measure their standards is “different to anyone else”, meaning he understands why drivers haven’t “survived” at the team.

Both Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly were demoted to Toro Rosso mid-season for underperforming as Red Bull drivers, with the looming presence of their junior team meaning drivers are always waiting in the wings to take their place if needed.

Sergio Perez explains unique pressure of driving for Red Bull

Perez became the first non-Red Bull junior driver to join the team as an ‘outsider’ since Mark Webber in 2007 when he signed in 2021, replacing Alex Albon at the time, who was demoted to third driver as he struggled to match Max Verstappen on the other side of the garage.

Now heading into his fourth season at the team and into the final year of his current deal, his seat is one of the most sought-after in Formula 1, given Red Bull’s current status as the dominant team in the sport.

But given his lengthy experience in Formula 1, Perez knows that pressure is never far away, but having driven for Sauber, McLaren and ‘Team Silverstone’ in its guises as Force India and Racing Point, he believes the way Red Bull measures its drivers is different to others on the grid.

“There’s always pressure in Formula 1, you have to remember that we are at the pinnacle of the sport,” Perez explained on the Beyond The Grid podcast.

“So there’s always pressure, you always have to deliver at all conditions, at all races, that’s normal.

“But at Red Bull, it certainly has changed a bit. I mean, there’s a reason why lots of drivers haven’t survived, because the amount of pressure, the amount of focus on yourself, they don’t measure the same, all the teams – I feel like how they measure at Red Bull is different to any anyone else.”

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Scrutiny grew over Perez and his position at Red Bull when he went through a mid-season dip in form last year that saw him fall away from title contention in dramatic fashion, to a degree that saw him struggle to make the podium places when team-mate Verstappen was racking up race wins on his way to a third World Championship.

While pundits weighed in with their opinions, the noise on social media grew louder while Red Bull were assuring that his contract would be honoured for 2024.

Despite that, he did not allow that criticism to get to him in such a way, and tries to keep himself separated from public opinion – especially on social media.

“I think I’m privileged, because I’m a bit older and I grew up without social media. It can be really toxic, so I’m not a big fan of that, so I always try to stay away from it,” he said.

“Making sure that I’m able to come here, do my job, give my everything, prepare as best as I can, and that’s all I can do.

“I can try 1000 times, but at the end of the day, the most important is [work] with your team, try to deliver and the outside noise will always be there, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But it’s important to make sure that you are able to shut it down.”

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