McLaren CEO Zak Brown has claimed that if Red Bull had two of Sergio Perez behind the wheel, the World Championship “would kind of be wide open.”
Brown was addressing the dominance Max Verstappen is currently experiencing in Formula 1, with the Dutchman having won the last eight races and opened up a 125-point lead in the Drivers’ standings in the process.
Perez by contrast had struggled for form in qualifying while his Red Bull team-mate thrived, which led to a difficult comparison from the McLaren boss.
Zak Brown: ‘If Red Bull had two of Sergio Perez in the car…’
Ever since Perez took victory in two of the first four races of the season, the 2023 campaign has been particularly one-sided in his team-mate’s favour.
Perez went on a run of five consecutive races without making it into Q3, leaving him with recovery drives to do and damage limitation in terms of World Championship points.
He took two podiums in Hungary and Belgium prior to the summer break, but it was still Verstappen who stood on the top step on both occasions.
Brown admitted that the double act of a Red Bull in Verstappen’s hands is looking imperious for everyone at the moment, but without wanting to disrespect the former McLaren driver, if Perez was driving both cars, the title race would be less of a foregone conclusion.
“As much as Red Bull’s killing everyone right now… it’s really Max is killing everyone right now,” Brown told ESPN.
“That Max, Red Bull combination is just unbeatable at the moment and Max and the team isn’t making any mistakes.
“If they had two Sergios in the car, with all due respect, this championship would kind of be wide open. So you’ve got something pretty special going on with Max and Red Bull.
“If you take Max out of it and take everyone who’s finished second this year and give them a win, it would be a pretty competitive, exciting championship.
“We’ve had a second, Aston’s had a second, Ferrari’s had a second, Mercedes has had a second, Sergio’s had a second. You would have five teams that would have won a race this year.
“As soon as we all catch up to Red Bull I think that’s going to be the state of play for Formula 1.”
When it comes to the overall dominance of Verstappen, however, Brown does not think it is hurting the product of Formula 1 at the moment.
When asked if the sport may suffer negative effects of one-driver dominance, Brown responded: “No. I think one, the races are uber exciting. And it’s not just about who wins, right? There’s racing throughout the field and the racing’s been awesome.
“I think we’ve seen in other sports, Tiger Woods win every single time out and ratings were never greater because people admire seeing an athlete at the top of the sport.
“I wouldn’t want it to go on forever but I don’t think it’s hurting us. The depth of competition is fascinating, the races have been super exciting and they tend to cover the whole field.
“I wouldn’t want to see it continue, for selfish reasons, but for right now it’s totally sustainable.”