Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Istanbul Park, 2021

Red Bull “desperately need” Perez to score more points

2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says it is vital Sergio Perez increases his points haul over the coming races.

The team has fallen 33 points behind rivals Mercedes in the constructors championship fight. Perez has scored 16 points over the last six races compared to Max Verstappen’s 62.5. Horner said it’s “very important” Perez closes the gap to his team mate over the remaining rounds.

“I think he scored 16 points in the last six races, which is a combination of bad luck and other misfortune,” said Horner. “So we desperately need him to get up there in the remaining races.”

Perez failed to score for three races running at Silverstone, where he crashed in sprint qualifying and the team pitted him from a points-scoring position late in the race for tactical reasons, the Hungaroring, where he was taken out by a rival at the start, and Spa, where he crashed in dire conditions during his reconaissance lap.

He took modest points hauls in subsequent races at Zandvoort, where he was eliminated in Q1, and Sochi, where he was running in a podium position when a rain shower hit late in the race and he stayed out on slick tyres. He finished third on the road at Monza, but fell to fifth place due to a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

“The last two races he could have been on the podium,” said Horner. “We obviously had the track limit issue in Monza. He had a poor pit stop in Sochi and then of course the tyre choice that we were on proved to be the wrong one on that lap.

“So things could have gone a different way for him, but I’m sure that will sort itself out over the remaining seven races.”

Perez was the quicker of the two Red Bull drivers in practice today, six-hundredths of a second ahead of Verstappen. Horner said the team has work to do to reduce their half-second deficit to pace-setter Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes.

“The characteristics of the circuit are somewhat different to what they were 12 months ago,” he explained. “I think it’s just a matter of dialling the car into the asphalt, the way it’s behaving and the nature of this circuit. So it’s going to be a busy evening for the engineers both here and back in Milton Keynes.”

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Dieter Rencken
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29 comments on “Red Bull “desperately need” Perez to score more points”

  1. Certainly important, as otherwise, Merc’s WCC lead might extend beyond achievable under normal circumstances.

  2. Given the Red Bull’s handling characteristics, I wonder which drivers on the grid would be most suited to be Max’s teammate. I’m not sure drivers like Gasly or Vettel would be well, given they both rely on confidence from the rear end. I think Alonso or Raikkonen (from a decade ago) would likely do quite well in that car. I would be interested to see what Bottas could do as well since he used to have a pretty positive front end in the Williams.

    1. Alonso would be the dream team mate for verstappen, older but so damn experienced and a great driver as well.

  3. Fortunate that the understeery Red Bull seems to suit him well this weekend, and he pushed hard early

  4. Could Horner mean that Checo will be replaced after – or during – this season?

    1. @petterson No, not anymore.

      1. Are the drivers contracted to either RedBull or AlphaTauri, or are they contracted to Red Bull GmbH? Can the drivers be switched around between the teams, do their contracts allow that?
        I notice Albon is still contracted to Krating Daeng (RedBull Thailand).

        1. @johnrkh Red Bull GMBH for AT drivers. Perez for Red Bull Racing solely.
          That separate RB division is Albon’s personal sponsor, yes.

        2. Checo’s contracts have always been a bit more complicated than that – for a team to aquire his services they first have to have agreements with his sponsors first which them consolidate their position with the team where they can assign the drive – Perez, in this case. So Red Bull wouldn’t have the option to demote Checo to Alpha Tauri, it would either be a complete termination of contracts between all these parties OR another round of negociations to make his sponsors to sign with AT first and repeat the process.

  5. Checo was always a bit incident prone.

    1. @zann In his early seasons, yes, but he changed post-Mclaren.

      1. I don’t think he’s changed @jerejj, that’s why he’s where he is now on points. Some of it’s bad luck, but some of it isn’t, it’s contact and mistakes, that’s why the eloquent Christian was saying “a combination of bad luck and other misfortune”

        I think they thought at 31 he’d have become more consistent as you say, but I don’t think he is.

        1. I meant he used to be Maldonado-like but mostly got rid of this reputation pretty much after leaving Mclaren.
          Occasional incidents & errors, yes, but not as much/often as in his first three seasons racing in F1.

  6. Red Bull putting immense pressure on their second driver? Nah. That sounds unlike them.

    1. Immense pressure? They’re just stating the facts. I understand why they went with him (although personally I would have taken a punt on Hülkenberg), but Perez has been pretty disappointing this year.

      1. Absolutely, they’ve extended his contract too soon, I wasn’t convinced and so far was proven right, I don’t see where the rush was. Bottas has been driving better and was replaced, ofc mercedes had an exciting prospect to replace him with, but red bull is still a top team, they could get better than perez.

        1. Yes RB has been unusual gentle with Perez, but shouldn’t have IMO. Agree fully they should have waited with his contract and now gotten Gasly back in for ’23.

          If they anyway have to wait a season or 2 for the driver to come up to speed, it might as well be a younger one with promise like Pierre. I like Perez and wish he would do well, but the reality is that this was out of his league.

  7. Should have signed Alonso. Imagine how far ahead of Mercedes they would be right now.

    1. Absolutely, they’d be leading the constructor’s championship at least and would’ve got some 1-2, maybe verstappen could have some more points too with a proper number 2, although I doubt alonso would settle for number 2, but age would probably dictate their pace.

      1. I agree. We would have seen Fernando win some races, soundly beat Bottas as often as Max and plenty of podiums.

  8. I mean. Yes it’s an obvious statement from Horner. But why say it in public. Win or lose as a team don’t set your driver up as the fall guy if you come up short again.

  9. Well… They could lend Giampiero to Checo…

  10. They’re right to start putting pressure on. Aside from Ricciardo, Perez has disappointed me the most this year (interesting that they, and Ocon, have wins, despite an underwhelming season, while Norris/Leclerc/Sainz have impressed with no win to show for it). I “vouched” for Perez at the end of last year; thinking it important to see an experienced hand opposite Verstappen, but I honestly think either of Albon or Gasly would have more than two podiums to show for the best car on the grid. Were it not for Bottas also underperforming, I think he’d be under real scrutiny.

    He has certainly been unlucky at times, but so often has been the author of it himself; the crash in the sprint at Silverstone, or spinning off pre-race at Spa.

    The experiment has failed and I’d personally be looking to bring Gasly back; possibly as soon as next season.

    1. Mark in Florida
      9th October 2021, 2:17

      (@ben-n) I agree, I really thought that Checo would be perfect for the job. I felt that he was unfairly booted from AM after scoring so many points for them. But his move to RB has been a disaster for him. He just can’t come to grips with the car apparently. Max keeps on putting the car up front and where is Checo? way back in the midfield somewhere. Alonso would do fine in the seat, his experience and natural talent would get him up to speed quickly.

  11. That’s him a goner then.
    Once CH gobs off in public. He’ll be out before the end of this season.
    Trust his agent’s got other options lined up.

  12. To me it is still unclear whether it is the car or Checo. I mean Checo is mediocre at best, but so is Bottas. I fear that RedBull car isnt even close to what we credit it.

    1. It is very difficult car to drive, Max makes it look easy. I think only him and probably Fernando Alonso can tame this wild bull anywhere close to the pole.

    2. It is pretty clear. Gasly in the Alpha has outshined Perez plenty of times this year. Would you have us believe that the Alpha is a superior car to the Red Bull? Perez is massively underperforming. In some cases this year, he likely would have been faster in an old Force India than the Red Bull. It is absurd to suggest that any driver can “outperform” the car anyway. The most that you can logically claim is that Max is getting 100% out of the Red Bull.

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