Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has stressed that Sergio Perez is the “right driver now” for the side, but that he’ll need to perform well this season to convince them to extend his deal.
Perez’s Red Bull contract is due to expire at the end of 2024, with the general expectation being that he won’t be offered an extension.
The biggest rumour is that AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo will replace Perez for the 2025 F1 season, should the eight-time race winner deliver a solid season for the sister team.
If Ricciardo performs well, then the chances of him completing his quest for a second chance at Red Bull will be more than in his favour.
Towards the end of 2023, there were even suggestions that Ricciardo could replace Perez for 2024, as a result of the Mexican driver’s inconsistent results.
However, Perez securing second in the Drivers’ Championship gave Red Bull no reason to drop him before the conclusion of his deal, something Horner stressed would be respected on multiple occasions.
There is, of course, every possibility that the 33-year-old is given a new contract for 2025, although he’ll need to replicate his championship position from last season presumably for this to happen.
What doesn’t help Perez, is that Red Bull have several drivers capable of taking his seat, should he struggle in 2024.
For now, though, Horner has once again insisted that the second seat at the Milton Keynes-based team is Perez’s, but that it’s “down to him” to deliver results to deserve a contract extension.
“It’s Checo’s [Perez] seat,” Horner told PlanetF1.
“He’s in the car because we believe he’s the right driver now.
“It’s down to him over the next nine months to demonstrate that we feel that way for 2025.
“Of course, we’ve got great talent in the pool with Daniel [Ricciardo], with Liam [Lawson], with Yuki [Tsunoda]. So time will tell.”
Perez definitely has the speed to remain at Red Bull beyond 2024, as proven last season in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan, where he claimed impressive victories.
He just needs to show his talent on a more regular basis, with his mid-campaign blip in 2023 having triggered all the rumours regarding his future.