Sergio Perez has batted away a question about Red Bull’s public criticism of his performances this season, with scrutiny being placed upon him from higher-ups at the team.
Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has been in the spotlight for controversial comments made against his driver that referenced his nationality, for which he later apologised, and has seemingly been at odds with team principal Christian Horner over the status of his 2024 seat with the team – with Horner repeatedly having assured that the Mexican will fulfil his contract with Red Bull next season.
That combined with the need to keep up with Max Verstappen race by race, after an excellent start to the season and a subsequent drop-off in form, it was put to him by Channel 4 presenter Steve Jones that “sometimes it feels like even your own team are against you” – but Perez does not believe that to be the case.
Sergio Perez: “I have full support” of Red Bull
While Perez has mostly recovered from his mid-season dip in form that saw Verstappen sail into a near-unassailable Drivers’ Championship lead, the spectre of Daniel Ricciardo lurking in the background did, for a time, put pressure on the Mexican to improve if he was to keep his place at Red Bull next year, despite the fact he remains second in the Drivers’ standings.
But in spite of the multiple public comments that have been made from Marko about Perez and his “need to perform” in order to hold onto his seat with the team, Perez maintains he holds onto their full support behind the scenes, when the perception of his current situation was put to him by Channel 4.
“I was thinking that the pressure you must be under is extraordinary,” Jones said to Perez in an interview before the Singapore Grand Prix.
“It seems to me that sometimes you’re between a rock and a hard place. Helmut Marko in the press recently made a bit of a faux pas, you could say, that would be a good example.
“Sometimes it feels like even your own team are against you. Do you understand what I’m saying? Is it frustrating?”
Perez played down those concerns however, insisting the team back him despite how things may appear from afar at times.
“I mean, from the outside it might look like that at times, that it’s not everyone in your corner and you might feel like things are harder than it should be,” Perez responded.
“But to be honest, in the team, I have full support and everyone wants me to succeed.”
The 33-year-old has to contend with a record-breaker in Verstappen, whose 15 victories last year was an all-time record for a single season, and his run of 10 wins in a row was another all-time landmark that was only broken by Red Bull being off the pace in Singapore.
When asked about the pressure of having the Dutchman on the other side of the garage, he was willing to give him credit where it was due.
“It is tough, you know, because the guy is like a machine,” Perez said.
“He’s driving at a very high level and we have to respect that. Being Max’s team-mate really pushes you to the maximum, that’s why I’m here and that’s why I want to continue, because I am pushed to the maximum.
“I cannot do this job at 90% throttle, I either go flat out or I go home.”