Sergio Perez is said to have opened up conversations with Red Bull regarding a new contract that would keep him at the team beyond the end of this year.
During the 2021 season in which he scored five podiums, a race win and 19 points finishes, Perez was awarded a new contract until the end of 2022 alongside Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman was awarded a contract of his own until 2028 in a deal thought to be worth $250 million over five years following his championship success last year, and the Mexican stated his intent to discuss a longer stay, indicating that greater job security would help him feel more comfortable in the car.
“When the time comes, certainly as a driver, you really need to have some stability with your team, which is also good for the team to have some continuity. So I think, going forwards, I’m looking for a bit longer stay,” he said.
The 32-year-old would appear to be facing competition from Pierre Gasly who, since returning to the junior squad, has managed three podiums and a victory after a torrid half season in the main fold in 2019.
The Frenchman is out of contract at the end of next year, at such time he has unequivocally stated that wants to move back to Red Bull.
Dr Helmut Marko will have a very tough decision on his hands, and he promised that the final decision will be made before the second half of the 2022 season.
“By the summer break, we will make a decision on who will be Verstappen’s team-mate in 2023,” he explained.
“Pierre has a contract with us until the end of 2023, so there is still time. As always with Red Bull, it’s all about his performance.”
It has now emerged that Perez remarked after the race that he has begun negotiations, but he Jenna Fryer reports that neither party is desperately trying to get a deal over the line just yet.
While Verstappen took victory in Miami last weekend, Perez took fourth having tried to snatch the final podium spot away from Carlos Sainz.
He was also unable to capitalise on a slow stop from the Ferrari mechanics on the Spaniard’s car when an engine issue set him back, and he detailed the extent of the time deficit as a result.
“I was in a great spot,” he said after the race.
“Unfortunately even with a DRS, I couldn’t get close to Carlos, the deficit on the straight-line was quite high.
“I was just pushing really hard to stay close to him on the corners.
“My tyres were overheating, so as soon as I had a little opportunity, I went for it. It was too dirty offline.
“After that I just couldn’t get close. The deficit on the straight-line was too much.”
Perez was adamant that he “would have had a chance” of a win if he his engine had not encountered the issue.
Nonetheless, Red Bull’s result now leaves them just six points behind the Scuderia in the Constructors’ Championship as the circus heads back into Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix in two weeks.