Red Bull aren’t ruling out axing Sergio Perez at the end of the season and promoting Japanese F1 rookie Yuki Tsunoda, senior team advisor Dr Helmut Marko has said.
The 20-year-old is racing with Scuderia AlphaTauri this season – and he impressed many in the paddock with a strong debut at the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix.
He finished the race in P9 after having a difficult qualifying and losing positions at the start of the race.
Following his debut grand prix, Dr Marko spoke highly of Tsunoda but said he doesn’t want him to “burn his wings”.
“With Yuki we have an incredible diamond in the rough,” Dr Marko said.
“We don’t want to burn his wings. We will study his progress and then make decisions in due course.
“The way he does it, the way he moves the car forward, is fantastic. He’s also a charismatic person. We’re happy to have him.”
Asked if he could be promoted to Red Bull at the end of 2021 as Perez’s replacement, the Austrian replied: “We’ll see” and stressed that there are another 22 races of the season to go.
“We’ll see how it develops,” he concluded.
Perez, who was signed by Red Bull as Alex Albon’s replacement in December, only qualified in P11 for the 2021 season-opener and he fell to the back of the grid after his RB16B suffered an electrical issue on the formation lap.
However, the Mexican put in a strong recovery drive and finished the race in fifth position.