Sergio Perez addresses rumour of P2 mandate to save Red Bull career

Jamie Woodhouse
Sergio Perez looks to the side in the Red Bull garage.

Sergio Perez puts on his helmet in the Red Bull garage.

Sergio Perez, like Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, denied the claim that he must finish P2 in the Drivers’ Championship to continue racing for the team.

For a time it seemed as though Perez had steadied his season after his targeted title challenge against Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen fell apart, but Perez has now fallen into a fresh negative spiral in form.

Without a podium across his last five outings, Perez could not capitalise on a golden opportunity to swing the momentum in front of his home crowd, crashing out of the Mexican Grand Prix at the start after colliding with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Sergio Perez shuts down Red Bull P2 requirement talk

As speculation swirls over Perez’s future at Red Bull and whether he will be afforded the luxury of seeing out the final year of his contract in F1 2024, among the rumours was the claim that Perez was required to finish P2 in the Drivers’ Championship to race for Red Bull next year.

Verstappen has stormed his way to the 2023 World Championship, the third of his career, but Red Bull has never achieved a one-two finish in the standings.

However, with Horner having already quashed that rumour, Perez, speaking to Sky F1 ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, moved to do the same.

Asked if it is his understanding with Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko and Horner that everything is sorted for next season if he finishes P2, Perez replied: “If that’s what you want to say and write as journalists, apparently it’s the rumour in the media.

“But in the end I have a contract, everything is clear, regardless of where I end up this season. But, I mean, rumours are rumours.”

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Even if Perez does not need to finish P2 to stay at Red Bull, it would be seen as a huge underachievement if he was not able to, considering the Red Bull RB19 has won 18 of the 19 grands prix to take place so far in F1 2023, Perez claiming two of those.

The fight is on though with Lewis Hamilton now only 20 points adrift.

However, Perez is confident that he will return to form in Brazil and ultimately see off the Hamilton threat.

Asked if he is optimistic about keeping the 20-point buffer over Hamilton through to the end of the season, Perez responded: “Yes, I think I have the pace to do that. I’ve just been extremely unlucky the last few weekends.

“I think it’s time to get a clean weekend and show what I can do, because I think the pace in the last few weeks has been a lot better than the results we’ve been getting.

“I really feel that we’ve made a lot of progress, so we should be back in form this weekend.”

Having won the 2023 Saudi Arabian and Azerbaijan GPs, one more win this season will give Perez his best victory tally in a season yet in his Formula 1 career.

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