Verstappen Incident Sparks Perez’s Future Predictions

Sergio Perez narrowly avoided a collision with Max Verstappen in the recent Miami race, sparking speculation about his future with Red Bull Racing.

Despite his close call with his teammate, Perez is expected to retain his seat at Red Bull for the upcoming season. His daring maneuver at the start of the race, described by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz as resembling “a torpedo,” saw him narrowly miss Verstappen as he surged into the first corner.

The slightest contact between the two could have spelled disaster, potentially ending both of their races prematurely.

This incident echoes a similar scenario from Perez’s home race in Mexico last year. On that occasion, he made a bold move into Turn 1, only to overshoot the corner and collide with Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari.

Reflecting on the Miami incident, former team principal of Force India, Aston Martin, and Alpine, Otmar Szafnauer, remarked, “He got away with it.

“I understand it. He was fourth on the grid and probably the quickest way to go from fourth to third to second is at the start. If you don’t do that it’s then overtaking, you have to set people up, it takes longer, you’ve got to wait for DRS, all sorts of things.

“But at the start, you can make up a couple of places, and a lot of drivers do. As it turned out, he didn’t hit anyone. Maybe Max a little bit, I didn’t realise that.

“But thereafter he settled in and put in a solid performance, finishing fourth. It’s where he started, decent points.”

Perez maintains his second position in the drivers’ standings, albeit trailing Verstappen by 33 points and leading Leclerc by five as they head into the upcoming Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.

While acknowledging that Perez needs to deliver to secure his spot for the following season, given his contract expires at the end of the year, Szafnauer believes the decision for team principal Christian Horner and advisor Helmut Marko is a clear one.

“I think Checo is a great number two to Max,” Szafnauer stated. “When he settles in he doesn’t make many mistakes, he’s second in the championship, and that’s where you want him to be.”

“I think this year, towards the end of last year, he has really stepped it up, and is doing the job for Red Bull. Let’s see how that continues in the future.

“I hear they’ve an upgrade coming for Imola, which is the next race, so it will be really interesting to see how their upgrade works, and how Max and Checo perform at Imola once they’ve put the upgrade on the car, versus McLaren and the Ferraris.”

When directly questioned about Perez’s future at Red Bull for the next season, Szafnauer responded, “Yeah, I think he will. I think he’s doing a good job. If I were making that decision, I would keep him. The combination seems to be working.”

“Next year there will again be no big regulation change, and for me, if that combination of drivers is working then I would keep it the same.”