Ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard believes Sergio Pérez needs a “software update” to compete against Max Verstappen week in and week out, with the Dutchman having been imperious over his Mexican team-mate last season.
Verstappen was an unstoppable force in 2022, with the 25-year-old having stormed to a second consecutive Drivers’ Championship thanks to breaking the records for most wins and most points scored in a season.
Pérez did have his moments of brilliance; however, he failed to deliver impressive results on a consistent basis.
Victories at Monaco and Singapore were the highlights of Checo’s recent campaign, as he claimed third in the standings.
Coulthard has suggested that Pérez has “all the knowledge” to take the fight to his team-mate and battle for the title, but that he’s at risk of simply becoming “another driver” to win a few races.
“For Checo to look at how many victories Max had and how many he had, it’s not like he is just having to polish a few corners. This is a major rewrite, a software update,” Coulthard said, as per BBC Sport.
“If you use the same ingredients in the cake you will get the the same cake. You need to change it if you want something different.
“He has access to the data of the world champion. He can see where he’s quicker, where he’s slower. Checo will be quicker in some areas. It’s just Max is putting it all together more often than not.
“All the knowledge is there for Checo to lift his performance. If he does then the world championship is there for him to put his hand on.
“If he doesn’t, then he will be another driver, like myself, that won a few grands prix.”
Should Pérez fail to improve this year then he might begin to look over his shoulder at Daniel Ricciardo, who the Austrians have brought back into the team as their development driver.
Ricciardo has set his sights on returning to racing in 2024, with the Aussie perhaps liking the look of Pérez’s Red Bull seat.
The 33-year-old’s return to the Austrians has come as a result of a miserable two years at McLaren, with Coulthard believing that returning to his “family” for 2023 is about the Aussie “trying to rebuild” his career.
“Daniel, not being where we knew he could be – he just didn’t look like Daniel of old so this is about him trying to rebuild,” Coulthard said.
“He has a great legacy with Red Bull and he left to go off and try and make it big elsewhere, that didn’t work so he has come back to the family.
“If he can get his mind back to what is was when he was having success, then Daniel has to have an opportunity to come back. If this opportunity doesn’t manifest itself then that’s probably his grand prix career wrapped up.”