Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has admitted that the Austrians “lack the alternatives” should they decide to drop Sergio Perez, something which’ll likely see him remain with the outfit.
Whilst Perez is contracted until the end of 2024, he’s come under huge scrutiny this season for once again falling off after the opening few rounds, where was ultra-competitive.
Perez looked like a genuine title contender in the first five rounds of the season, before everything started to spiral out of control at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Crashing in Q1 at the Circuit de Monaco was really the beginning of the end of Checo’s 2023 championship chances, with second place not even being a guarantee anymore.
After scoring just five points in the last three races, Lewis Hamilton has closed to within 30 points of the Red Bull driver, who is under immense pressure to secure second in the Drivers’ Championship.
Given that Red Bull’s car is far superior, as proven by Max Verstappen who has won 14 of the 17 completed races this season, Perez finishing lower than P2 in the standings will be seen as unacceptable.
The Mexican is suffering from the pressure of being alongside Verstappen, something which has seen the likes of Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon dropped in recent years.
Daniel Ricciardo is arguably the only driver who could replace Perez because of his experience with the team, as Red Bull would presumably want to protect Liam Lawson for a little while longer.
However, Ricciardo having missed so many rounds through injury has arguably saved Perez, as it’s unknown how long the Australian will need to settle back into his car at AlphaTauri.
Red Bull are “doing everything” to try and help Perez rediscover his form, yet Marko admits that if they had a driver ready to take his place, then the Mexican might “have a problem” for 2024.
“I may be repeating myself,” Marko told SPORT1, “but Perez has a contract that we want to respect. We are doing everything to get him back on track.
“We lack the alternatives. Otherwise he would possibly have a problem.”