F1 presenter Will Buxton has warned Sergio Perez his seat is “not safe” and suggested the only man to replace the old Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull is the modern day version.
Perez has been under intense pressure in the second half of the season as his performances have failed to match up to those of team-mate’s Max Verstappen.
The Mexican is contracted to Red Bull for another season but there has been increasing speculation that Perez may not survive until then.
‘Daniel Ricciardo is the best Daniel Ricciardo replacement’
Red Bull have the privilege of too many good drivers and too few seats with Verstappen, Perez, Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda and Liam Lawson all contesting for the four drives under the team’s control.
Arguably it is only Verstappen’s seat that is secured with the Dutchman tied down until 2028 but when Ricciardo returned to the team this year, many assumed he was being lined up for a comeback to the main seat.
That is the impression F1 presenter Buxton has come to.
“For as long as Daniel’s sitting in that Alpha Tauri, he [Sergio Perez] is not going to be safe,” he told The Fast And The Curious podcast.
“Because the only reason Daniel’s there is to put pressure on him. And I think Red Bull has probably come to the realisation that the only driver who can replace Daniel, is Daniel.
“If Daniel gets back to Daniel’s form of old, then they’ll stick him in the car next to Max because they were the best driver lineup that they’ve had in terms of a two driver team, I think ever. And Daniel played really nicely with Max, and Max looked up to and respected Daniel.
“I don’t think it’d be quite the same now because Max has elevated himself to a level that’s beyond almost any driver and Formula 1.
“If Checo can’t maintain a consistent performance, and that consistent performance has to be consistent P2s because that is the best car in the field. The minimum expectation of that car is P2 and if you’re not getting P2, then what are you doing? You know, why are you there? And they will ask themselves those questions.”
While Perez may not have secured P2 in Vegas, the result was good enough to confirm him runner up in this year’s driver standings. The first time Red Bull have ever secured a 1-2 finish in the Drivers’ Championship.