Persistent rumours continue to cloud Sergio Perez’s future at Red Bull Racing.
Before Daniel Ricciardo’s hand injury at Zandvoort, chatter had intensified that Red Bull was seeking an exit strategy for Perez’s 2024 contract.
However, now that Liam Lawson has temporarily taken over Ricciardo’s seat at Alpha Tauri during his unspecified recovery period, both Dr. Helmut Marko and Christian Horner have clarified that Perez’s contract for next year is secure.
“We still have faith in him,” Marko told Viaplay. “He has to finish this season in second place.
“Sometimes he puts the pressure on himself, but to be honest, everyone has a difficult life next to Max (Verstappen).”
Although team principal Horner has been notably less vocal about Perez’s 2024 situation than Marko, the discord between the two is increasingly visible.
“It’s noticeable that Horner is disagreeing with Helmut Marko a lot these days,” former F1 driver Christijan Albers told De Telegraaf.
“My impression is that Horner is eyeing Ricciardo’s return to the seat.”
Going even further, former Formula 1 racer Ralf Schumacher suggests that Perez’s recent errors at Zandvoort indicate he has “no future at Red Bull”.
“I think his days at Red Bull are numbered,” he told Sky Deutschland.
“Dr Marko isn’t exactly known for his warm-hearted way, but I think Perez can’t deal with it very well and that leads to these serious mistakes.
“Perez looked grumpy, disappointed and kind of absent all weekend,” Schumacher added. “I think agreements have been made about a separation at the end of the season.”
If contracts weren’t a stumbling block, Schumacher believes that Verstappen would prefer his friend and current McLaren driver Lando Norris to take Perez’s place.
“When a driver like Verstappen contributes so much to the team’s success, I think it’s good to give him what he wants as much as possible,” Schumacher explained.
Interestingly, in a new sit-down with Sky Italia, Verstappen did not refute the idea of potentially having Norris, 23, as his Red Bull colleague.
“We’ve talked about it,” the Dutchman admits.
“But he has a very long contract with McLaren and nobody knows what will happen in the future.”