Sergio Pérez and Daniel Ricciardo are arguably two of the worst performing drivers as of late, with both having faced a challenging 2022.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where Pérez’s year has gone so wrong, with the Mexican having been so fast during the opening phase of the season.
The 32-year-old started the season so well, in fact, that he was being labelled as a serious title contender.
Pérez managed to beat both Ferraris and team-mate Max Verstappen at the Monaco Grand Prix, in what remains his only victory of the season.
The Red Bull driver put in the performance of his life to win at the Principality, an achievement which is arguably also the highlight of Ricciardo’s career.
Having been labelled for so long as Red Bull’s number two driver, it finally looked like Pérez would prove to the world that he could be a championship contender.
His win at Monaco came purely on merit, which at the time saw him close to within 15 points of his superstar team-mate.
However, since Monaco the Red Bull driver just hasn’t been on it, with the Mexican most likely feeling extremely lucky that he signed a two-year contract extension before his form dropped.
Pérez was offered a contract extension until the end of 2024 following a run of four podiums from the opening seven races, but since Monaco he’s claimed just three podiums in the last nine races.
Qualifying has been an instrumental problem for the Monaco GP winner, with the Mexican having made mistakes during Q3 which has resulted in abnormal starting position.
He’s currently on a run of just one podium in the last six races, which came at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Pérez sits third in the Drivers’ Championship, 125 points behind Verstappen.
The Mexican could easily find himself slipping to sixth if he isn’t careful across the remaining six races, with Ferrari and Mercedes having been capable of beating the underperforming driver.
With Pérez performing so poorly, should the Austrians consider dropping the Mexican in favour of another option?
Whilst this would be an expensive option, due to the team needing to pay the Mexican to relinquish his contract, it could become a possibility that the Milton Keynes-based outfit consider.
Should Pérez continue to struggle in 2023, would he seriously be given a seat in the best team in 2024?
One name that has been discussed by Red Bull boss Christian Horner lately is former Red Bull driver Ricciardo, who is facing a one-year hiatus.
The 33-year-old’s strongest period in the sport came during his spell at Red Bull, where he claimed seven victories.
In his five-year spell at the team, he twice ended the season in third, as best of the rest behind Mercedes.
Ricciardo took the fight to both Sebastian Vettel and Verstappen; however, he ultimately opted to leave the side to pursue new challenges.
The Aussie has had a shocking couple of seasons, excluding his victory at last season’s Italian Grand Prix, which is at the end of the day why he’s being replaced by Oscar Piastri.
Ricciardo’s options for 2023 are looking bleak, with it appearing to be that his only chance of remaining in the championship is if he’s offered Mick Schumacher’s Haas seat.
The Honey Badger has considered the possibility of taking a year away from the sport, something he’s “accepted”.
Ricciardo could then return in 2024, due to a number of contracts being set to expire at the end of next season.
A current available seat is at Alpine, with Horner believing that Ricciardo is the best option for the French side to replace Fernando Alonso.
“I think I probably would, to be honest with you,” Horner said on the Beyond the Grid podcast, after being asked if he’d sign Ricciardo if he were Alpine’s boss.
When given a strong package, Ricciardo is still unbelievably fast.
Whilst it would be risky for a top side to sign the Aussie, nobody would batter an eyelid against the idea if it meant the best version of Ricciardo would return.
Seeing Ricciardo struggle has been difficult to view; however, perhaps it’ll take a move to Red Bull to get the best back out of him.