Dr. Helmut Marko has responded to recent speculations about Sergio Perez’s future with the team, emphasizing that his position remains secure.
At Zandvoort, Perez, the talented Mexican driver, lagged a significant 1.3 seconds behind his teammate Max Verstappen, who clinched pole position.
This discrepancy prompted comments from Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, who expressed to Auto Motor und Sport, “Perez isn’t an idiot.
He’s a multiple Grand Prix winner who knows how to drive fast. That’s why it’s hard to understand how the gap can be so huge. On the other hand, we saw that Max destroyed all his previous teammates. Maybe it’s because he has the car built around his preferences.”
Marko, in a recent interaction with Kleine Zeitung newspaper, acknowledged that while Perez has a contract for 2024, “nothing is 100 percent certain in Formula 1.” He further elaborated, “There are always performance-related situations somewhere that need to be discussed. We’ll take a look and discuss how to proceed in Zandvoort, then we’ll know more.”
However, a twist came about on Friday when Daniel Ricciardo, perceived as the potential successor to Perez’s 2024 seat, sustained a hand injury while driving for Alpha Tauri. This incident led Marko to reiterate Perez’s security within the team, stating unequivocally, “Everything is clear for 2024.”
Ricciardo’s swift treatment is now a focal point, with his impending visit to renowned motorsport surgeon Xavier Mir. Red Bull’s team principal, Christian Horner, commented on Saturday, “He’s left for Barcelona already. We know from MotoGP how fast these guys recover.
Perhaps tomorrow he will have a small operation to fix the fracture. Any normal person would probably be out for 10 to 12 weeks, but we know these guys are not normal. Is it three weeks, a month, six weeks? Nobody knows that yet.”
Rookie Liam Lawson, who is filling in for Ricciardo, struggled during his qualifier, finishing last on Saturday. Marko, however, defended him by pointing out that the inconsistent conditions “could not have been more difficult” for the New Zealander.