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Inside Line: The real Red Bull problem is Perez not De Vries

Inside Line: The real Red Bull problem is Perez not De Vries

Inside Line: The real Red Bull problem is Perez not De Vries

Tuesday was my day off. The Nyck De Vries firing took place not on my watch, but Editor Jad Mallak did a great job keeping us all informed. I was disappointed for the Dutchman and then an endgame worth mentioning dawned.

First, ten races with these cars is hardly enough for a guy to prove himself. Sure De Vries did not cover himself with glory in Formula 1, as we all expected. He has disappointed fans and believers, and deserving to be axed if he did not improve. But it would have been fair if he was given a chance of redemption, at least until the end of the season. Ten races only in his first full F1 season to prove himself worthy is just wrong.

But the impatience of Helmut Marko might cloak a hidden agenda. And once you do, the reality is that Sergio Perez is the real problem at Red Bull, and De Vries stepping down for Daniel Ricciardo to warm-up at AlphaTauri is the obvious move for a team with a greater purpose.

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Come on! AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo just sounds wrong

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 11: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Oracle Red Bull Racing prepares to drive during Formula 1 testing at Silverstone Circuit on July 11, 2023 in Northampton, England. Inside Line: The real Red Bull problem is Perez not De Vries

The 34-year-old is back where he began 232 races ago when he was  22. Dan even struggles to name the team he will return to the F1 grid within two Sundays’ time. Catch him saying “Alphatauri” in the social media blitz that accompanied the announcement. He can’t because it pains him.

And, I am guessing he knows, this is merely a prelude to bigger things and a foot back onto the F1 grid. A rare second chance to extend his F1 career by a few more years, when it was all doom and gloom at the end of his last season with McLaren.

So what is the Red Bull end game for all this? I am going to suggest it’s simple to read, and here’s a list of the possible hidden-from-plain-sight, under-the-table options for the F1 World Champions:

Option 1 [The endgame I believe]

  • Ricciardo at AlphaTauri destroys Yuki Tsunoda from day one;
  • Perez continues to struggle with the best car on the grid;
  • RBR say hasta la vista Checo, hello Dan!

Option 2

  • Tsunoda and Ricciardo are at same level after two or three races;
  • Dan sidelined again, De Vries recalled by AlphaTauri;
  • RBR live with Perez being mauled by Max.

Option 3

  • Perez finds his A-game again, wins a couple and finishes close second to Max;
  • Ricciardo destroys Yuki from day one;
  • RBR warning: Perez don’t drop the ball again;
  • Because, if you do Dan will step up to RBR.

Option 4

  • Perez finds his A-game again, wins a couple and finishes close second to Max;
  • Tsunoda and Ricciardo are at same level after two or three races;
  • Dan sidelined again, De Vries recalled by AlphaTauri;
  • RBR are happy.

I’m going with Option 1: If Checo’s struggles continue, Dan will replace him

Option 1 is my call. There is also the optimistic Option 3 if you are a Perez fan. Whatever the case, make no mistake, ditching the Mexican veteran comes with complex repercussions as the team is now littered with backing from his homeland.

Hence, switching Checo off is a lot more complicated than giving De Vries the boot (temporarily?) for Ricciardo’s race time. So one imagines, RBR have to play this long game to meet their end game aka getting a proper teammate for Max.

Perez was, but suddenly (after the battering in the past half dozen GPs or so) he is not. Very much not.

Thus, if this RBR gamble pays off and Ricciardo finds the magic he once had in an F1 car with AlphaTauri, and Perez continues to struggle abysmally, Christian Horner and money men can pacify their Mexican backers simply: “Your logo is at the back of the grid thanks to Perez when it should be one-two every race. With Dan and Max, it will be so, we promise. Checo has to go. Gracias!”

Whatever the case, this sage will launch a million conspiracy theories. This one is 1,000,001 st! In a nutshell, my one goes as the headline says: Perez is the real Red Bull problem, not De Vries. Let’s see which of the above-mentioned options will become a reality.