According to former W Series driver Alice Powell, Sergio Perez’s continuous struggles in qualifying, particularly in mixed conditions, suggest that his time at Red Bull may be coming to an end.
Perez’s disappointing performance in the rain-affected qualifying session at the British Grand Prix resulted in a lowly 16th place, while his teammate Max Verstappen secured pole position for the seventh time this season. This marks Perez’s fifth consecutive failure to reach Q3, and he hasn’t started within the top 10 since his pole position in Miami over two months ago.
Out of the 10 rounds this season, Perez has only made it to Q3 in four of them, experiencing embarrassing early exits in Australia, Monaco, Spain, Canada, and Austria, despite the Red Bull RB19 car’s consistent success in every race of 2023.
Powell, who appeared as a pundit alongside W Series Champion Jamie Chadwick during Channel 4’s television coverage of qualifying at Silverstone, believes that Perez’s latest setback will further intensify scrutiny regarding his position at Red Bull.
She said: “He was saying that he’s struggling with the car in those mixed conditions. Those mixed conditions are tricky, but me and Jamie were actually chatting saying, ‘But he’s so fast on the real, tough street circuits’, so we can’t quite work it out.
“He just doesn’t seem to perform when it really matters and [going] up against Max as a team-mate is so tough regardless. Maybe it’s heading towards the end for Perez.”
Despite Sergio Perez’s strong start to the season with victories in two of the first four races, his performance has significantly declined, as he has only managed to secure two podium finishes since then. Currently, he trails his teammate Max Verstappen by a substantial 81 points in the Drivers’ standings.
Following his elimination at Silverstone, Perez attributed his lack of tyre temperature as the reason for his poor qualifying performance, as he parked at the end of the pit lane awaiting a restart at the end of Q1. However, Jamie Chadwick, highlighting Perez’s recent string of underwhelming performances, believes that the Mexican driver tends to resort to making excuses too quickly instead of taking full responsibility.
“It is confusing, but, that said, one of the things I’ve noticed in Checo recently is that he’s reached for a few excuses, She stated.
“It’s very easy to do that as a driver – you’re always going to look for the reason why you’re not quick – but some accountability is important and I’m not sure what goes on behind the scenes, but here saying that he didn’t quite get the tyre prep in and didn’t quite have it how he wanted it to but Alex Albon was just behind him in the queue in the pit lane and still managed to jump ahead.
“So I think try to have some accountability. It’s tough. He’s clearly quick enough. He’s quick on the street tracks, he sometimes struggles in the mixed conditions but we need to see that performance now in every session.”