Dutch racer Tom Coronel took a dim view of Sergio Perez’s F1 2023 showing, saying Red Bull should have sent him to the beach and brought in a replacement.
Perez started the season strong alongside Max Verstappen, the Red Bull drivers claiming two wins apiece in the opening four rounds, but from there it all went wrong from Perez.
Failing to win again, Verstappen went on to claim a record 19 grand prix wins, claiming his third World Championship with more than double the points of Perez.
Tom Coronel blasts F1 2023 ‘flop’ Sergio Perez
Ultimately Perez did do the job Red Bull asked of him as he ensured their first one-two finish in the Drivers’ Championship, though that achievement looked under threat due to several alarming slumps for Perez throughout the campaign.
The Mexican racer remains with Red Bull for F1 2024 despite rumours Red Bull could look to rip up his contract, which Coronel not so subtly explained is what he believes Red Bull should have done.
“You as Red Bull should just buy off that contract and say to Perez: grab some Caiprinhas on the beach in Mexico and never come back,” Coronel told Formule1.nl.
“The flop of the season can only be one and that’s him. It is not bad if you disappoint once, or two or three times, but this guy has had so many chances.
“Compared to Max, Perez is a softie, a tourist.”
Clearly, Coronel does not rate Perez’s F1 2023 showing too highly. The same is true for his P2 finish.
While that achievement ticked the main box which rumours said needed checking off for Perez to remain with Red Bull, denied by the team, Coronel said it was of little credit that Perez pulled it off.
Earlier in the season Red Bull had shown how ruthless they can be with a driver not hitting their expectations, Nyck de Vries afforded only 10 grands prix at their second team AlphaTauri before being ushered to the exit door.
And Coronel believes that De Vries would also have been up to Perez’s task of claiming P2 in the Drivers’ Championship in the Red Bull RB19.
“Sure, he finished second in the Drivers’ Championship, a street-length away from Max,” Coronel acknowledged. “But believe me, Nyck de Vries could have done the same. Easy, even.”
The pressure is on for Perez in F1 2024 to secure a Red Bull contract extension, with Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda lurking looking for a route into the main team.