As the 2023 Formula 1 season resumes, discussions surrounding Sergio Perez’s fate at Red Bull Racing have gained momentum, with Sky F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham weighing in on the debate.
With Max Verstappen’s pursuit of a third consecutive title looming large, Perez finds himself trailing by 125 points, potentially facing a contest for second place in the Drivers’ Championship.
Perez currently enjoys a 40-point lead over Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin, with Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes trailing closely in fourth position.
While Perez made a strong start to the season, securing victories in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan, his campaign encountered turbulence, notably marked by a string of five races without a Q3 appearance between Monaco and Silverstone.
Despite rallying with two podium finishes in Hungary and Belgium just before the mid-season break, doubts loom over Perez’s future at Red Bull, exacerbated by the reassignment of reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo to sister team AlphaTauri for the remainder of the season.
Perez’s contract expires at the end of the following year, leading to speculations about a potential replacement.
Pinkham’s perspective on Perez’s future is tinged with personal connections to Ricciardo, who is the godfather to one of her children.
She suggests that Perez’s continuation at Red Bull hinges on his ability to secure second place in the championship, given the remarkable performance of the RB19 car that has won every race thus far in 2023.
Pinkham stated on the Sky F1 podcast, “And I do believe that Perez has the ability, the talent to do it, so if he doesn’t then I’m afraid that is the end of his career at Red Bull.”
Blake Hinsey, Verstappen’s former Red Bull performance engineer, aligned with Pinkham’s stance, acknowledging the unique circumstances Perez faces.
Despite Perez’s recent slump, Hinsey still has confidence in the Mexican driver’s potential to outpace Alonso and Hamilton.
Hinsey remarked, “I think Perez will do it, because he has the talent and the car to do it, but I’m just being controversial.”
As Red Bull eyes the possibility of an undefeated season, former World Champion Damon Hill weighs in on the potential for a one-two finish in the standings, a feat Red Bull has never achieved before.
Hill considers this outcome as part of Red Bull’s ongoing quest to shatter records and create history.
He expressed, “They’re breaking all the records as they go and we’re going into the unknown. Can you win every race as a team in the Championship?”