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Editor's Desk: Perez fighting for his seat at Red Bull

Editor’s Desk: Perez fighting for his seat at Red Bull

Editor's Desk: Perez fighting for his seat at Red Bull

Sergio Perez may have signed a contract extension with Red Bull, but that does not mean his seat with the team is secure for 2025 and beyond.

The Mexican’s seat may not even guaranteed for the remaining of the the 2024 Formula 1 season, with reports doing the rounds that he is in the cusp of being replaced by the energy drinks outfit.

In the end, contracts in F1 mean nothing, they are made to be broken and most of them, if not all, have performance clauses which allow the team to dump an underperforming driver, and also a driver can leave a team if they do not offer him a competitive car.

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At Red Bull, the second option of course applied to Max Verstappen, but the first applies to Perez, who after a decent start to the 2024 season has dropped back and been struggling since Imola.

The Mexican has been on the podium four times in the first six races of 2024, ever since the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, he has been way off the pace, struggling in qualifying and failing to make amends in races, while driving a car with which Verstappen is leading the Championship by 81 points from Lando Norris.

Reports have emerged this week that Perez will be dropped even before the end of the current F1 season, with Daniel Ricciardo tipped to replace him at Red Bull.

However, it is understood that such reports have no credence given the fact that Ricciardo is not setting the world alight alongside Yuki Tsunoda at VCARB.

And as for Tsunoda, and this is me speculating here, I feel the only thing keeping him within the Red Bull family is the Honda backing, and with the Japanese carmaker leaving for Aston Martin in 2026, it does not make sense to promote Tsunoda to Red Bull – just saying.

Enter Liam Lawson

Lawson: Full focus on being reserve in 2024

But then, there is Lawson, and according to Dr. Helmut Marko, the New Zealander is free to walk away from Red Bull of he is not given an F1 race seat in 2025.

Adding more traction to the Lawson option is the fact that he will test Red Bull’s current RB20 next week in Silverstone as part of a 200-km promotional event, which will help the team evaluate Lawson like they did with Ricciardo last year before putting him in place of the struggling Nyck de Vries at VCARB which was still known as AlphaTauri then.

Lawson impressed when replacing Ricciardo – who broke his hand at Zandvoort – at AlphaTauri for five races in 2023 scoring points in Singapore, but then Red Bull inexplicably retained Ricciardo.

While the reports of Ricciardo replacing Perez claimed the switch will happen after the summer break, it is understood that there is no deadline, it may even happen earlier of Perez does not show signs of improvement.

Speaking of improvement, Perez seemed to be in a good place as he started his weekend with the team in Silverstone, but then spun out on a drying track in Q1 of qualifying, which means he will start the British Grand Prix from 19th on the grid.

In his case, any decent weekend will help Red Bull regain faith in their struggling driver, and with his qualifying nightmare at Silverstone, will a strong race on Sunday help him save his seat? At least for the rest of this season?

Red Bull boss Christian Horner did not mince his words, he told Sky Sports F1: “This is a sport where there’s no hiding, particularly with Max Verstappen as your team-mate.

“He [Perez] knows he’s being measured against the very best and we need him up there supporting Max because there’s two McLarens now, there’s two Ferraris, and there’s two Mercedes. We need there to be desperately two Red Bulls,” he added.

So what will it be for Checo? Watch this space…