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NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 08: 16th placed qualifier Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing talks to the media in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 08, 2023 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Montoya: Harmony at Red Bull no need to replace Perez

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 08: 16th placed qualifier Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing talks to the media in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 08, 2023 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Sergio Perez has been warned! Daniel Ricciardo stepping up to replace underperforming Nyck de Vries at Red Bull’s AlphaTauri ‘junior’ team could be the prelude to the Mexican being replaced too if he does not raise his game ASAP. But Juan Pablo Montoya thinks not.

The Mexican is a 12-year Formula 1 veteran who started the 2023 F1 world championship season in style, winning two races of the first four, and finishing second in the fifth round in Miami behind his teammate.

At the time Perez was trumpeting about being a F1 title contender and how he wanted to dethrone Max Verstappen. Unfortunately for him since and including Miami, the Dutch ace in the sister Red Bull has won everything, including the Sprint in Austria. Shut up and drive was the message from the team.

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After Azerbaijan, it was Max 93, Checo 87. Now, ahead of Round 11 in Hungary next up, it’s Max 255, Checo 156. Three points became 99 in a couple of months.

Thus, before De Vries got his marching orders, already there was speculation, it was a toss-up whether the Dutch rookie or Perez was going to get the boot first. Now we know. But is that the end of the saga?

Extracting Perez will not be as simple as pushing aside De Vries for Red Bull no matter how badly the Mexican’s form gets. He also brings a great deal of sponsorship from his country for the team, who have great expectations every year the F1 circus jets into Mexico City.

Hard to imagine what will happen if Checo is not in a Red Bull that weekend! Probably worse of he rocks up at his home race in an AlphaTauri. So one would imagine if Marko does pull the trigger, it will be when or after they jet out of the City of Palaces.

Q1 exits and silly incidents have been embarrassing for Perez and Red Bull

perez red bull RB19 undertray floor skirt upskirt

Driving the best car on the F1 grid – probably the best in the history of F1 if Verstappen’s record-breaking form is anything to go by – Perez has simply forgotten how to drive the mighty Red Bull RB19 in qualifying anymore.

That Monaco prang gave away a lot of secrets. His Q1 exits have been embarrassing. His deficit to Verstappen is in the Alex Albon versus Logan Sargeant league. The only difference is the American is a rookie, unlike Perez who has 245 GP starts under his belt. Even De Vries was closer to teammate Yuki Tsunoda than Perez had been to Max of late.

But F1 driver Montoya told VegasInsider does not believe Red Bull have reason for concern and sees no need for change in the RBR driver line-up: “There is no reason to put another driver in instead of Checo Perez.

“There is no reason to take a risk with something that can disrupt the relationship. Having Checo as a teammate gives a really nice atmosphere because Max is not under any kind of pressure. Sometimes Checo can bring the A-game and wake Max up and make him go: Oh I really need to stop playing around.

“It works well at the moment,” ventured Montoya, clearly buying into the number one and number two driver concept which has always been the Red Bull way, or at least since Sebastian Vettel was the big Bull with the team back when he was maxing F1.

Montoya: The media love poking, like a dog with a bone

marko perez verstappen

As for how long Perez has with Red Bull, the 47-year-old Columbian reckoned: “Maybe in a few years, two-three years, they need to change and find somebody because Max will go through a phase and that’s normal. He’s still going to be amazing but he’s going to change a little bit. Somebody maybe needs to come in with a lot more hunger at that point to get the job done and that’s a part of the deal. ”

Regarding the suggestion that the Ricciardo move to AlphaTauri is simply warming up the Aussie for promotion with some much-needed race time with the Lil’ Team and the bigger plan is for Perez to be replaced, Montoya dug out the old blame-it-on-the-media-BS who pay him for his insights: “The media love poking, like a dog with a bone and people will react to the story.”

Montoya then rationalised the recent musical chairs within the four-car Bullpen: “The way Helmut works with stuff like this, he’s not putting pressure because he wants to fire you but he puts pressure on you to perform. He’s looking to get the most out of you. He’s not patting you on the back and saying ‘you’re the best, you can do it’. No, he’s like: get your shit together or you’re out.”

Time will tell if Monty’s crystal ball is functional or needs replacing. For now, no matter what Christian Horner says, what Max Verstappen says, what Helmut Marko says, what Dan says, what JPM says, the reality is Checo Perez has just had the pressure ramped up on him… very big time.

As they say, cometh the hour cometh the man, the veteran has dug himself out of trenches before, and knows what he has to do to emerge from this biggest ditch in his career, but can Perez do it?

Time will tell but it won’t be “two-three years” as Montoya expects, for sure! That’s not how RBR operate.