Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz don’t want to be Max Verstappen’s team-mate

Former racing driver Johnny Herbert has drawn parallels between his own career and Sergio Perez’s, as the Mexican risks being axed.

As Red Bull Racing continues to voice support for Sergio Perez’s seat, Formula 1 pundit Johnny Herbert draws on his own racing history to shed light on the pressures and uncertainties Perez might be experiencing within the team. 

Amid assurances from Red Bull management, Herbert’s insights raise questions about the Mexican driver’s future in the championship-winning team.

Christian Horner and Helmut Marko, figures at the helm of Red Bull Racing, have consistently reassured the public that Sergio Perez’s position with the team is secure. 

However, as these affirmations persist, media speculation has only intensified regarding Perez’s actual standing, especially for the 2024 season. 

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Drawing on his experience, former F1 driver Johnny Herbert suggests that Perez may indeed be concerned about his future with the Austrian outfit.

Having navigated the high-pressure environment of Formula 1 firsthand, Herbert’s perspective carries weight. 

Throughout his career, he found himself alongside the iconic Michael Schumacher, who dominated the sport. 

Herbert acknowledges the challenges of being in a competitive environment where performance is under constant scrutiny. 

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In 1995, while Schumacher claimed his second world title, Herbert struggled to match his teammate’s pace, despite occasional podium finishes. 

This experience gives Herbert a unique understanding of the pressures that Perez is currently grappling with.

Like Herbert’s time with Schumacher, Perez faces the formidable challenge of sharing a team with Max Verstappen, a supremely talented driver who consistently outperforms his peers. 

While Verstappen secures victories, Perez’s journey to the podium has been more arduous. 

Parallel to Herbert’s past, rumours swirl about Perez’s potential replacement and doubts about his future within the championship-winning team.

Undoubtedly, Verstappen’s consistent lead over Perez has raised concerns. 

Herbert remarks, “It’s alarming for Perez… 

“If I was Perez, I’d be worried and very uncomfortable.” 

He highlights the pressure of competing against a driver of Verstappen’s caliber and notes the expectations that Red Bull places on its drivers. 

Herbert continues, “Verstappen is very happy with the situation because he’s not under pressure or being challenged in any way, but Red Bull know they’ll need someone that will be consistently at the top when the other teams get more competitive.”

Herbert reiterates his sentiment: “If I was Perez, I’d be worried and very uncomfortable.” 

He empathises with Perez’s perspective, imagining the frustration of seeing the performance gap on the screens. 

Herbert underscores that while the season is halfway through, Perez has yet to consistently match Verstappen’s pace. 

He acknowledges that the only one who can alter this trajectory is Perez himself.

Speculation has mounted concerning potential replacements for Perez. 

Amid the suggestions of drivers like Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda, Herbert brings another name to the forefront—Lando Norris. 

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Herbert floated Norris’s potential availability and suitability for the Red Bull team, considering the challenges posed by Verstappen’s presence and performance.

“They could look at Lando Norris – I don’t know if he can get out of his contract or if there’s a performance clause,” he stated. 

“I don’t see why Charles Leclerc or Carlos Sainz would like to leave Ferrari, I know there are some frustrations but there’s a big risk factor to consider when it comes to joining Red Bull because Verstappen is there, he’s not an easy person to go up against.”