Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and advisor Dr Helmut Marko both gave very conflicting messages about Sergio Perez’s future with the team, last weekend at the Dutch Grand Prix.
Perez’s future has been a huge talking point, given the size of the seat which would be on offer should the Austrians sack him.
As things stand though, it appears that Perez will remain at Red Bull in 2024, with him being contracted for next season.
His deal expires at the end of 2024 meaning a new driver could be alongside Max Verstappen in 2025, something most expect.
Despite this, many have suggested that the 33-year-old won’t even be with the Milton Keynes-based team next season, due to his unconvincing performances.
Perez would’ve claimed second last weekend in Zandvoort had he not made two costly errors, the first of which saw him crash at Turn 1.
The Mexican stumbled in wet conditions in the closing stages and span at the opening corner, allowing Fernando Alonso into second.
Perez then sped in the pit-lane, resulting in a five-second time penalty which demoted him to fourth after the race.
A promising afternoon quickly unravelled into a disappointing one, yet Horner in particular remains adamant that the team will honour Perez’s contract.
Marko, though, has said otherwise, with the 80-year-old having insisted that “nothing” is certain in F1.
“Nothing is 100 percent certain in F1, it just doesn’t exist,” Marko said during the Dutch GP.
Ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher is one of many who expect Red Bull to drop Perez before the start of the 2024 season, with the German being convinced that Checo’s “days at Red Bull are numbered”.
Schumacher believes Perez can’t deal with the pressure from Marko, resulting in the “serious mistakes” seen last Sunday.
The Mexican was supposedly “very grumpy” all weekend, with Schumacher suggesting that “agreements” are in place for Perez and Red Bull to separate at the end of this season.
“Sergio Perez once again made a mistake when he drove into the barriers at the entrance to the pits and this action also resulted in a penalty that cost him second place in the end,” Schumacher wrote in his post-race Sky Deutschland column.
“I think his days at Red Bull are numbered. Dr. Helmut Marko is not exactly known for his warm-hearted way of dealing with Perez. I think that Perez as a guy can’t deal with that so well, that’s how I explain these serious mistakes.
“Perez looked very grumpy, disappointed, and also absent all weekend. I think that there were already agreements about a separation after the end of the season.”