Horner expects Perez will end poor qualifying run at next round

2023 British Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Sergio Perez will end his recent run of poor qualifying performance at the next race.

Perez was eliminated in the first round of qualifying and started 15th. That condemned him to another difficult race and he eventually finished sixth.

While his team mate Max Verstappen has won the last six races in a row, Perez has failed to reach Q3 in all of the last five races. Asked by RaceFans about his string of disappointments in qualifying, Horner said “he just needs to break it now.”

“He’ll do it in Budapest I’m confident,” he added.

Horner said Perez drove a strong recovery in the race and needs support to return to his best in qualifying.

“The way he races, some of his moves in the race, and the one particularly on Carlos Sainz [Jnr] was quite stunning into Stowe,” he said. “If you look at his pace in the last stint he was right there.

“So it’s frustrating for him that he’s having to fight back all the time, but he’s just got to sort his qualifying out on Saturday and as a team. We’ll do our best to support him on that.

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“It’s just one of those things. I think as in sport, all sport, 90% of it is in the head and he just needs a good run and he’ll find his momentum again.”

Lando Norris, McLaren, Silverstone, 2023
Gallery: 2023 British Grand Prix in pictures
Max Verstappen has now pulled 99 points clear of Perez in the championship contest. Perez is 19 points ahead of third-placed Fernando Alonso.

“At the moment he’s still running second in the championship and he’s extended his lead over Fernando today,” Horner continued. “We’ve got a good car but we need to make sure that we’ve got both cars in contention.”

Perez also started 15th at the previous round in Austria, where he recovered to finish on the podium. Making up that many places at Silverstone is harder because of the nature of the circuit, said Horner.

“It’s very hard to overtake here because such large percentages of the track are flat-out that it converged all the cars together,” he said. “You had Williams running competitively, McLaren running very competitively, you’ve got a different array of cars in there. So, that makes it very, very difficult to make easy headway at a track that’s also pretty complicated to overtake at.”

“He’s the type of guy that just needs an arm around his shoulder and you work with him and that’s what we’re doing,” Horner added. “We’re supporting him, we know he can do it, we’ll know he’ll get back there and just trying to make sure it happens as quickly as possible.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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21 comments on “Horner expects Perez will end poor qualifying run at next round”

  1. I think he’s toast, really. When he was close to Max he got silly, now he’s worse than probably most of the drivers they could have.

  2. Any qualifying position, with this car he has, below p2 is an embarrassing result, maybe in some races p3 or p4 could be excusable. Going out in Q2 or even Q1 however is just a complete failure.

    I’d be surprised if his replacement for next year hasn’t already gotten an offer from Red Bull.

    1. @sjaakfoo

      I would be surprised if Red Bull finish the season with him. This is a classic case for a mid season replacement. If Red Bull had a half decent talent in their wings currently, he wouldn’t be in the car after the summer break.

      1. They’ve dropped drivers mid-season who were performing better than he is right now in inferior cars.

        As much as I like him, I don’t think anyone would be too surprised to see another driver take his place before the season was out. He’s in the fastest car on the grid by a significant margin, yet it will only take a couple more performances like this and he’ll drop out of 2nd in the WDC.

  3. Horner was talking up Perez as a contender a couple of months ago. Now it’s more or less fine with his boss that he doesn’t get out of Q1.

  4. What Horner said to what he meant:

    “He’ll do it in Budapest I’m confident” = He’d better do it in Budapest, or else

    “We need to make sure that we’ve got both cars in contention” = Only one car is in contention and everybody knows which one

    “…we’ll know he’ll get back there and just trying to make sure it happens as quickly as possible” = It needs to happen before the summer break

    I agree with @sjaakfoo – Red Bull have probably already decided who will replace Perez

  5. One could argue that improving conditions meant going out first after the red flag meant he was doomed. But he put himself i that position. Maybe it’s a lesson that even with the fastest car this is not a board game or a simulation. You have to still get a pile of details right and perform at the required moment. He’s not doing that. Maybe he got the vapors after his wins and let down his focus. But what makes the greats great is they just don’t have these swoons where they can’t perform up to a good car for races on end.

  6. They’re so strong at the moment they don’t need Perez at all to win both championships.

    It’s a sad state of affairs this new run of rules. Cars look like trucks, have you seen the max radius the drivers need to turn the wheel into Maggots/Becketts? It’s ridiculous. These new cars are bad and F1- Ross Brawn/Pat Fry need to own it.

  7. Perez is a decent Williams driver at the moment. The only problem is that he’s not driving their car. Too bad, but I don’t like when people start online bullying drivers, making fun and all the usual. Only he knows how difficult his job is, and what are the specific challenges of driving for that team alongside such a driver; who’s also a very clear number one driver (which was, to be fair, quite clear when Perez was joining RB). I don’t think that Sergio is the best driver on the grid, but we all know that he’s quite capable, competent driver who would impress from time to time, and rarely under-perform throughout his career.
    I don’t think it’s just a matter of pressure and mental issues, but I’m sure there’s so much of that as well, and everyone before him succumbed to that, from Ricciardo to Albon (and Sainz also showed signs of that in Torro Rosso). No one can guarantee that the same thing, to some extent, would happen to any other driver, even those highly rated at the moment.
    It’s something people in RB should think about, but they don’t really have to at the moment, as they don’t even need a second driver at the moment. But they will, eventually. I don’t think they can find someone better than Perez at the moment, so they should at least try to work this out with him, instead of letting him follow in Gasly’s footsteps.

    1. “No one can guarantee that the same thing, to some extent, would NOT* happen to any other driver…”
      Sorry, tired me. It’s been a long, scorching hot day.

    2. I don’t think it’s just a matter of pressure and mental issues, but I’m sure there’s so much of that as well, and everyone before him succumbed to that, from Ricciardo to Albon (and Sainz also showed signs of that in Torro Rosso).

      Pérez was actually surprisingly bullish earlier in the season, which was a bit odd. He might have actually convinced himself that he could challenge for the title. But any time a driver is paired with one of those exceptional team mates, they either accept it and do quite well – or they seem to wear themselves out trying to do things they can’t keep up. Guys like Berger and Irvine for example seemed much more comfortable being paired with Senna and Schumacher respectively.

    3. I like Perez, but I can’t see how the team can put up with this for much longer. RBR will want a 1-2 in the WDC alongside their WCC win this season, but Perez is falling perilously close to losing that second place.

      The fact that nobody else they could bring in will have any chance of taking 2nd for them and they are probably already safe for the WCC may save him for the rest of the season, but that’s not guaranteed. Unfortunately he’s in a very precarious position right now, and as I’ve said above RBR have dropped drivers who have performed better than this in a shorter amount of time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see if a different driver in the 2nd seat before the end of the season, and if he doesn’t improve quickly I would be surprised to see him in that seat next season.

    4. Basically fans want to see some competition for the race wins and with the Red Bull still so dominant, when driven by Max, that can only come from the team’s other driver. In a sense Pérez gets all the flac for the team’s policy of having a level of second driver who won’t pose their lead driver any problems. And clearly the odds are against him since the car will be developed to benefit Verstappen’s style of driving, completely different from Pérez’s. But we’re back where Red Bull were when they hired him: they probably felt they needed an experienced driver to cope with the pressure and really there aren’t many better drivers available who wouldn’t potentially destabilize Max and see him leave or undermine his performance (not a risk they presumably want to take, even if it isn’t very high). You also have to wonder whether the likes of Hamilton, Alonso or Leclerc would risk their reputation competing one-to-one with Max, especially in a team he essentially ‘owns’ now. The logical option would be a highly talented younger driver. But Red Bull have been burnt various times already trying that. I get their reluctance to try the same again.

  8. With those warm temperatures i am sure he is suddenly back AS his problem is the cold temperatures He can’t get the right temperature in his fronts…

  9. Chris Horton
    10th July 2023, 1:18

    I have to say, this criticism is ridiculous. Anyone can see the trends, when Perez was stronger, Verstappen was off his usual pace. When Verstappen rules, Perez is off the pace.

    It was clear with Gasly, then Albon and now Perez, that Verstappen has an incredibly unique driving style that Red Bull (understandably) orient their development towards. Red Bull try (and fail) to slot a second driver in who can then drive that Verstappen oriented car.

    Gasly is clearly a good driver, Albon is doing great things in his Williams.

    Sergio Perez is a very very good Formula One driver. I feel that people slating him are either relative newcomers to F1 or blind to obvious trends.

    1. I don’t think Red Bull is capable or willing to fully accommodating 2 top level drivers.

  10. Translation – he’d better qualify nearer the front or he’s gone.

    1. He’s gone already… whether its mid season or end of the season remains to be seen.

  11. I’m skeptical.

  12. This is why Helmut stated that in the silverstone test they will assess where Daniel Ricciardo stands in terms of performance in the Red Bull.
    Wouldn’t be surprised if they try to replace Perez with him.

    All he needs to do is qualify second to max and support him during the races.

  13. Sounds more like he’s permitting Perez to be able to challenge Vestappen now that the golden boy can finish 2nd in every race for the rest of the year and still be champion.

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