Suffering not one but two slumps during the 2023 season, Sergio Perez admits there were times he “regressed” as he lost the World title to Max Verstappen.
Much has been written about Perez’s 2023 championship which imploded as he crashed during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Having dreamt of a World title in the early rounds when he went head-to-head with his team-mates with two wins apiece, the Mexican driver instead found himself in a fight to retain his Red Bull race-seat.
Sergio Perez: We have sometimes even regressed
Failing to make it into Q3 five races in a row from Monaco to Silverstone, and recording just five top-three results after his Azerbaijan Grand Prix P1, Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko spoke of Perez waking up from the dream of a World title. Instead, he found himself in the midst of a nightmare.
As his alarming deficit to Verstappen grew, both on the track and in the standings, Daniel Ricciardo, Liam Lawson, and even Lando Norris were named as potential replacements.
But having finished the season second on the log, albeit 290 points behind his team-mate, Red Bull made the call to honour Perez’s 2024 contract.
It’s now up to the driver as to whether they offer him a new deal for 2025, but it’s fair to say he’s going to need to take a huge step forward. Even Perez agrees that’s what’s needed.
“I want to be able to achieve regularity, to build momentum,” he told AutoHebdo. “I think what we missed this year is progression.
“We started the year very high, tied with Max, but we were not able to progress throughout the season. We have sometimes even regressed.
“So I think that will be my main priority: to be able to progress throughout the season, whatever my starting point. It is important that, weekend after weekend, we continue to evolve and improve.”
Perez is convinced he can use the hard lessons learned last season to improve this year.
“I had a few bad weekends,” he admitted. “We started the year very strong in the first five or six races, but then we couldn’t progress with the car.
“This is something I missed and want to massively improve.
“The problems we had this year gave me a better understanding of what I was doing with the settings, how I was setting the car up, what direction I should go when I had problems. So this is something that will definitely make us stronger next year.”