Red Bull could fire Sergio Perez and sign Nico Hulkenberg for 2023

Nico Hulkenberg was considered for the vacant Red Bull seat prior to Sergio Pérez's arrival

Sergio Pérez is a name on many people’s lips at the moment and not for a good reason.

The Mexican is currently on a dreadful run of form, given the fact that he does have the strongest car on the grid in the RB18.

The 32-year-old enjoyed a brilliant start to the season, where he claimed four podiums from the opening seven races.

That final podium from the first seven races just so happened to be at the Monaco Grand Prix, where he stepped foot on the top step of the podium at the Principality.

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It was a race where Pérez looked like a championship contender and based by the standings at the time it was easy to see why.

The Red Bull driver was only 15 points behind Max Verstappen following the Monaco GP, where he beat the Dutchman purely on pace and merit.

As a result of his strong start to the season, Red Bull rewarded Pérez with a two-year contract extension, taking him to the end of 2024 with the Milton Keynes-based outfit.

However, to say it’s gone downhill since Monaco would be an understatement; the Mexican’s form has been horrific.

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Since his famous Monaco victory, Pérez has gone on to claim just three podiums from the last nine races.

To make matters even worse, he’s on a run of one podium in the last six races, which has seen him slip to 125 points behind his imperious team-mate.

Pérez’s form has been questioned; however, it doesn’t look set to improve anytime soon.

The Mexican is at risk of slipping to sixth in the Drivers’ Championship, with only 51 points separating second to sixth.  

Whilst Pérez will certainly race for Red Bull next season, will the Austrians look to fire the Mexican if his poor form continues next season?

There is every chance that Red Bull could do with Pérez what McLaren have done with Daniel Ricciardo this season.

Red Bull are well-known for being fearless and ruthless when it comes to their line-ups, which whilst it has received criticism at times, it has made the team undeniably successful.

Could Red Bull consider someone who isn’t part of the Red Bull fold?

This is what the Austrians did after dropping Alex Albon at the end of 2020, with Pérez having been dropped by the team back in 2007.

Red Bull also considered another non-Red Bull driver in 2020, a name who is currently being hotly linked to the potentially vacant Haas seat, Nico Hulkenberg.

Hulkenberg hasn’t raced full-time in F1 since 2019, after scoring 37 points in his final season for Renault.

The highly rated German was then signed by Racing Point as their reserve driver, for which he took part in three races in 2020 after replacing Pérez twice when the Mexican had the Coronavirus and Lance Stroll once when he was ill.

He magnificently scored points at two of the three races he took part in, after failing to start the 70th anniversary GP due to a technical issue.

Hulkenberg remained with the team as they became Aston Martin and took part in the first two races of 2022.

The German replaced fellow German Sebastian Vettel for the first couple of rounds this season, after the four-time World Champion was diagnosed with the dreaded COVID-19.

Whilst Hulkenberg failed to score points, he once again reminded people just how good he is.

It’s for this reason why he’s being linked to Mick Schumacher’s Haas seat for next season, with the German continuing to look for a full-time seat.

Red Bull did have a “brief discussion” with the 35-year-old when looking for Albon’s replacement; however, nothing obviously happened.

“There was a brief discussion with Nico Hulkenberg,” revealed Horner back in December 2020 to Autosport.

“But it’s really accelerated over the last month, I would say.

“It’s remarkable and I mean circumstances are a little crazy, aren’t they?

“Nico Hulkenberg is another capable driver that should really have a seat in F1.

“But it was our good fortune that he [Perez] didn’t have a seat and that allowed us the time, without him having any other options that he could pursue as a race seat, to fulfil the season with Alex before making a decision.”

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Whilst it’s somewhat bizarre to imagine Red Bull signing a driver like Hulkenberg now given his age, it could work quite well on a one-year deal should Pérez fail to perform next season.

The German would be considerably cheaper than any of the frontrunning drivers and would give the Austrians a chance to truly decide on which Red Bull academy driver will be the next partner for Verstappen.

As whacky as it sounds, the idea has a lot going for it.

Disclaimer: This is an opinion article and the views contained within it are strictly of the author.