Sergio Perez revealed that he spent a full week at Red Bull’s factory trying to get to the bottom of how to move out of his mid-season slump in form.
This came after a difficult Qatar Grand Prix weekend in which he started from the pit lane following a crash in the Sprint, managing to recover to 10th place.
His Saturday shunt mathematically handed the World Championship to team-mate Max Verstappen, however, who had been in all-conquering form for much of the year after the two Red Bulls shared victory in the opening four rounds of 2023.
Sergio Perez ‘transformed completely’ after lengthy factory work
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
Qatar was a bruising weekend for Perez, seeing his team-mate officially crowned World Champion while he crossed the line 80 seconds behind after having to start from the pit lane, with talk over his future at the team having grown louder after Daniel Ricciardo’s placement at AlphaTauri.
Red Bull have remained adamant throughout that the Mexican will remain with the team as per his contract next season, but a week-long stint at the team’s Milton Keynes base following Verstappen’s crowning moment proved to be a fruitful time for Perez.
He has since become closer to the Dutchman again in qualifying and race trim overall, revealing that the work he put in with the team has uncovered where they were going wrong with his car setup.
“I had a really deep one in Qatar, where I went back to the factory for like a week and went through it very much in detail with all the engineers,” Perez explained to media including PlanetF1.com in Abu Dhabi.
“We understood a lot of things that we were doing to compensate the weaknesses that we had, and we were probably taking the wrong approach with the car and trying to compensate it too much with car setup and ultimately, just getting lost weekend in and weekend out.
“I needed the time, I needed that. You know, we are very busy with all the commitments we have in racing, with the simulator and so on.
“But I felt at that time that I needed [it], we were just getting lost weekend in weekend out, so it was just important to step back and really look in detail and I think since then, our season has transformed completely.”
And when asked if his struggles had more to do with setup direction or driving style at Red Bull, he responded: “It’s been a part of both.
“But basically, the downturn was a bit on what we were doing with the setup in a few weekends.”