Horner: Had a bet with Perez to put it on Suzuka front row

Horner: Had a bet with Perez to put it on Suzuka front row

Horner: Had a bet with Perez to put it on Suzuka front row

Christian Horner will have to dish out a certain amount of money as he had a bet with Sergio Perez for the latter to qualify on the front row for the Japanese Grand Prix.

As it turned out, Perez duly delivered, and lined up second on the starting grid of the Japanese race last Sunday missing out on pole by just 0.066s to Max Verstappen.

In the race, the Mexican drove a solid race to finish second as well, delivering along with his victorious teammate, Red Bull’s third one-two finish of the 2024 Formula 1 season.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race at Suzuka, Horner said: “I had a bet with him [Perez] because his best qualifying performance had been P4 here, so I had a bet with him to put it on the front row.

“Somehow, having won the bet, he told me he owed Bernie Ecclestone exactly the same amount of money, so has passed the bet onto Bernie, who was the beneficiary of Checo’s front row.

“So dear old Bernie is still making money, whilst not even being here!” the Red Bull boss quipped.

Perez’s contract with Red Bull Racing expires at the end of the 2024 F1 season, and is yet to know his fate with quite the “Silly Season” currently engulfing F1 ever since Lewis Hamilton announced his move to Ferrari in 2025, Carlos Sainz on the look for a new job, and Fernando Alonso also a free agent, as almost half the drivers on the grid with expired contracts.

But Perez has been doing a solid job so far in 2024 which should convince the powers that be a Red Bull to retain his serviced for 2025 and he knows that.

Perez relaxed about his future, the seat his to lose

“I’m very relaxed about it [future],” he told Sky. “It’s my 14th season in F1. Whatever comes next, I’m really pleased with what I’ve done in the sport so far and I believe it will be a matter of time.

“The driver market is moving and the next few weeks, there will be a lot of movement for sure. I expect in a month to really know what I’m doing next year,” he added, despite Red Bull Consultant Helmut Marko insisting the team are in rush to decide on their 2025 driver pairing.

As for Horner he said: “The whole driver market seems to be very early this year. Everybody seems to be rushing around and we’re only four races into the year.

“We are not in a huge rush and obviously there’s a significant amount of interest in our cars, as you would expect,” he added echoing Marko’s comments.

Horner said after the Australian Grand Prix won by Sainz that “sometimes you’ve got to look outside the pool as well” but insisted that Perez is “very popular” in the team and remains as the top choice.

He commented: “Checo has the priority and it’s going to be a few more races yet before we start to think about next year.

“It’s his seat to lose. He’s doing a great job and qualified within a tenth of a second from Max. It was by far his best qualifying performance around at Suzuka.

“You can see his confidence is growing. His performance in the race, again, was very strong. He’s doing exactly what was needed of him,” the Briton concluded.