“Rumours are rumours,” commented past F1 racer Giedo van der Garde on the DRS De Race Show podcast this Tuesday.
Sergio Perez has waved off suggestions that he’s on the verge of announcing his Formula 1 departure at the forthcoming Grand Prix in Mexico.
In the shadow of his recent downturn in performance and even with a 2024 contract inked to partner Max Verstappen next season, murmurs have hinted at Perez’s inclination to bow out of F1 to cherish more moments with his young kin.
“He’s still relatively young,” van der Garde pointed out. “If I were him, I would keep going.
“On the other hand, the mental aspect also plays a role now. The question is whether Perez can still handle the pressure.”
The spotlight is undoubtedly on Red Bull’s rich roster of driver options currently, especially with Daniel Ricciardo making his comeback, pushing the commendable rookie Liam Lawson to the 2024 reserve role.
“There’s always so much talk,” Lawson, aged 21, voiced to the Sports Entertainment Network segment Grid Walk recently.
“And no matter how positive people are or what they’re saying, I don’t think I’ll be satisfied until I have a racing contract in my hand.
“Two months ago, I was definitely not being considered for Formula 1 and to be honest, it felt like it was starting to slip away a little bit,” the New Zealander disclosed.
“And I think now with this opportunity, that’s really helped that and at least maybe there’s an opportunity in the future.”
This weekend, eyes will be on Ricciardo as he marks his return after a five-race hiatus due to his injured hand, and van der Garde is keen to see how he performs.
“He’ll need to be right there,” the Dutch driver noted. “Admittedly, Ricciardo hasn’t driven many kilometres this year, but he does have the experience.
“I expect him to be close to (Yuki) Tsunoda, but above all he must make his return with humility. He has to show what he can do on the track.”
Van der Garde is of the opinion that Red Bull should mull over reincorporating their former star Alex Albon, though Dr Helmut Marko has dismissed such a prospect owing to Albon’s enduring contract with Williams.
“They also have Ricciardo and Tsunoda who can be promoted, but Liam Lawson has done very well and deserves a seat in Formula 1,” he opined.
Addressing the swirling speculations about a possible retirement announcement at the Mexico GP, the 33-year-old Perez negated them.
“Well, right now I have a contract for next year,” he was quoted by Sports Illustrated.
“It will be important to have a good season. I am motivated to continue and I want to stay for a few more years. I believe I still have a lot to do in Formula 1.
“I’d like to stay in F1 for at least another three to four years,” Perez maintained.