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Has Sergio Perez’s time in blue come to an end?

Written by Benjamin Crundwell, Edited by Debargha Banerjee

Since the beginning of the current era of Formula 1 in 2022, Red Bull have been dominant in Max Verstappen’s side of the garage, however on the other side of the garage, it has been quite a different story.

Image Credit - Thomas Maher

Red Bull has struggled to find the right teammate for their star driver Max Verstappen since the departure of Daniel Ricciardo in 2018. Pierre Gasly was promoted from their junior team in 2019, before being replaced mid-season by rookie Alex Albon, who also failed to impress.

Fast forward to Sergio Perez’s sensational win in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, Red Bull jumped at the opportunity and signed the Mexican for 2021.

His first season with the Austrian outfit was promising, winning his first race with the team at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Another highlight of his season was his persistent defence against Lewis Hamilton in the final race at Abu Dhabi, which eventually helped Max Verstappen to win his first World Championship. This led to him being nicknamed  “The Mexican Minister of Defence".

The previous two seasons overshadowed this initial success. He started both years strongly, at one point in 2023 even raising eyebrows for a potential title challenge.

This, however, would eventually drop off after a few races into the season, missing out on second place in the championship in 2022, and just scraping through in 2023. This has left doubts over his future at the team.

With wrapping up both championships for team and driver in 2023 as well as scoring a 1-2 in the driver's standings for the first time in their history, all that the team needs is stability and consistency. History suggests replacing Checo might not be the way for Red Bull.

They need to find a way to help him perform consistently and keep racking up the points. The F1 grid has stayed the same going into a season for the first time in history with no new drivers and no team changes for anyone. So for team advisor Dr Helmut Marko and team principal Christian Horner to make any changes would be crucial to both the team and driver.

However, this leaves room for much speculation on the prospect of former Red Bull legend Daniel Ricciardo making a comeback to the team as a full-time driver next year. 

Image Credits - Dan Istitene/Getty Images

On the other hand, Red Bull can get away with a less competitive driver for the time being, because they have a car significantly faster than others. If the gap to the rest of the field falls, then Verstappen will need a teammate who can help him fight at the front, rather than someone who struggles with their own race.

Crucially it could cost the team a championship and even though it is a mighty task to be a teammate to the ruthless Max Verstappen, it might force Red Bull to look elsewhere.

Red Bull has three options to replace Checo in 2025. Daniel Ricciardo has proven in the past he can race competitively in a Red Bull against Max Verstappen.

Daniel’s teammate Yuki Tsunoda is also a viable candidate, although unlikely, he has raced three years in Visa Cash App RB (previously AlphaTauri), but if he cannot win the teammate battle this year, he may be at risk of being the driver to lose his seat.

Red Bull’s last option is Carlos Sainz, who raced in Toro Rosso alongside Verstappen in 2015-2016. Carlos has proven himself to be capable of performing at the front of the pack since joining Ferrari back in 2021. 

Image Credits - Joe Holding

Sergio Perez needs to perform consistently this season, securing a respectable position in the driver’s standings compared to Max Verstappen, Otherwise he might be in danger of losing one of the most coveted seats in modern F1 with his contract expiring at the end of this upcoming season.


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