Sergio Perez reportedly asked Red Bull at the Spanish Grand Prix to let him use an older version of the RB19, before it’d been significantly upgraded.
The report comes from Auto Motor und Sport, who indicate that it was the Spanish GP which was the turning point of the Mexican’s season.
Just like in 2022, Perez has struggled to adjust to Red Bull introducing upgrades, whilst Max Verstappen has thrived.
The newly crowned three-time World Champion has won 14 races this season and has claimed 16 podiums in total, exactly double the number Perez has to his name for 2023.
Two of Perez’s eight podiums have come in the form of victory, although his last win came all the way back in April at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Many believed that his downward spiral started at the Monaco Grand Prix, after he was eliminated in Q1 following a heavy crash.
However, Perez asking for an older version of the RB19 suggests that his struggles really started at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where he again failed to progress into Q3.
Red Bull supposedly denied the 33-year-old’s request as they didn’t want to be taking two different specs of car to each race, something which would’ve impacted their number of spare parts.
There have been claims of the Austrians developing the car to support Verstappen’s driving style, but this theory has been quashed.
Perez just seems to take significantly longer than Verstappen to adapt his driving style to new upgrades, which are simply being introduced to make the car quicker.
However, Perez’s form worsens as more upgrades are introduced, with his confidence being at an all-time low.
Whilst he’s contracted until the end of 2024, he’s doing himself no favours currently, as he’s at risk of not claiming second in the Drivers’ Championship.
Lewis Hamilton sits just 30 points behind with five races remaining, with Perez having scored just five points in the last three races.
Not finishing P2 in the most superior car on the grid will likely be viewed as unacceptable by the Austrians, who have never claimed a 1-2 in the Drivers’ Championship.