Ahead of this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale, Sergio Perez enters the event having secured second in the Drivers’ Championship, following his rostrum in Las Vegas.
Despite being caught up in the opening corner chaos, Perez did extremely well to recover from his Q2 elimination to finish third; however, it would’ve been second had he not defended poorly against Charles Leclerc on the final lap.
The Mexican driver actually got into the lead in the closing stages but was unable to break away from Leclerc.
Whilst the 33-year-old wasn’t able to secure a 1-2 for Red Bull at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, his P3 was enough to secure the Austrians a first ever 1-2 in the Drivers’ Championship.
Some had reported that Perez’s contract being respected was dependant on him claiming P2 in the standings, something Red Bull rejected countless times.
Even if the reports were accurate, then Perez has already done enough to remain with Red Bull next season.
Will he, though?
Prior to Las Vegas, Red Bull stressed that Perez’s contract – which expires at the end of 2024 – will be respected regardless of where he finishes in the standings.
Unless something truly unexpected happens, Perez will enter 2024 with Red Bull, especially as Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda have been given contracts with AlphaTauri for next season.
Perhaps a better question to ask, is whether Checo will complete the entire 2024 season with Red Bull?
If he endures another mid-season struggle in 2024, then will Red Bull have the patience to give Perez the time to get back to his best once again?
This will largely depend on if Red Bull are in a fight for the title, given that if the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren have closed the gap next year, then they’ll need both drivers fighting for podiums.
Perez being sacked after this weekend’s finale couldn’t be more unlikely but his future beyond 2024 is certainly more unpredictable.
Should Checo be at his best in 2024 then perhaps a new deal will be offered to him; however, if his form is inconsistent then Ricciardo will be ready to take his place.