Sergio Perez, facing a challenging period in his career, believes that Red Bull’s development direction has played a significant role in his recent decline in form, with the Mexican driver sharing insights into the struggles he has encountered.
While the earlier part of the season saw Perez endure a series of races without Q3 appearances, he appeared to be making a comeback with a string of podium finishes in the races surrounding the summer break.
However, his recent performances have taken a downturn, resulting in him earning just five points in the last three rounds in Singapore, Japan, and Qatar.
In Singapore, Red Bull faced difficulties, but Perez’s race at Suzuka was marred by two separate penalties, followed by his first retirement of the season.
His misfortunes continued in Qatar, where he failed to finish the sprint race due to a collision with Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon.
This string of underwhelming performances occurred while his teammate, Max Verstappen, clinched his third consecutive World Championship.
The growing scrutiny on his Red Bull seat prompted Perez to acknowledge the poor showings in the last two rounds.
He shared insights into the challenges he has faced, particularly related to Red Bull’s development direction and the decisions made to improve his performance.
Perez remarked, “The last two weekends have been extraordinary in the way that we just arrived at the circuit, we were not comfortable, and we took directions that made it even worse. It’s as simple as that.”
He pointed to a combination of development and tuning decisions that have not yielded the desired results.
His frustration with Red Bull’s development direction mirrors comments he made in 2022 when he experienced a decline in form after a strong start to the season.
Despite his struggles, an analysis of key F1 2023 statistics revealed that Perez’s point total after 17 races is only 11 points fewer than at the same stage last year.
Perez previously discussed his challenges with adapting to the changes in the Red Bull RB19 car’s evolution since his early-season victories in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan.
He expressed the difficulty of having to consciously adapt to the car’s behaviour, saying, “For a driver, it’s really difficult to be adapting to the car instead of just things coming naturally.”
Reflecting on the shift in his performance, he explained, “The last few races, I’ve been a step or two behind and always thinking consciously how I have to drive the car, sometimes with how the car has been developed doesn’t really suit me as much so I have to work harder for it.”
Reports earlier this month indicated that Red Bull had blocked Perez’s request to revert to the pre-Spanish Grand Prix version of the car in an attempt to regain his form.
The Spanish Grand Prix marked the introduction of a new floor, and it was during this period that Perez faced difficulties in reaching Q3.