Perez will not lose 2024 seat if he fails to finish second in championship – Horner

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Red Bull is placing no pressure on Sergio Perez to secure the runner-up place in the drivers’ championship behind his team mate.

Team principal Christian Horner dismissed claims Perez has been told he must finish second in the drivers’ championship to secure his place at the team next year.

Red Bull signed Perez to a two-year deal last season. Horner said afterwards the contract “locks out the seat unless he absolutely doesn’t deliver for whatever reason in 2023 or beginning of ’24, for example.”

Verstappen clinched the drivers’ championship two weeks ago with six grands prix left to run. He goes into today’s race with a 213-point lead over his team mate which is almost double Perez’s score.

Red Bull have never previously had both its drivers finish first and second in the championship, a feat last achieved by Mercedes in 2020 and 2019. Lewis Hamilton is gaining on second-placed Perez having outscored him again in yesterday’s sprint race.

However Horner denied Perez’s place in the team will be under threat if he does not secure the team’s first drivers championship one-two.

“There’s no pre-mandate like that,” he said. “We’ve never finished first and second in a championship, we finished first and third a few times with Mark [Webber] and Sebastian [Vettel], we finished it last year with Max and Checo.

“With this car, it would be fantastic in such a season that we’ve had, if we could finish first and second. But there’s no pre-mandate on Checo that you have to finish second or you won’t be driving the car next year. That’s never been discussed.”

While Verstappen took an emphatic win in yesterday’s sprint race, Perez finished fifth, almost 23 seconds behind his team mate. Horner said Perez’s qualifying performances are still holding him back.

“He actually drove a pretty decent race,” he said. “He made decent progress.

“I think his race will be okay, his particular challenge has been on the one-lap, qualifying. When you qualify out of position it just puts you under more pressure. Hopefully he can have a good race and take some confidence out of that.”

Perez will start today’s race from seventh. “I think in terms of the work he’s done so far, the unfortunate thing for him is that the whole grid has concertinaed a bit, particularly in qualifying, so the fine margins become very expensive,” Horner added.

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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...
RJ O'Connell
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12 comments on “Perez will not lose 2024 seat if he fails to finish second in championship – Horner”

  1. Don’t believe that for a second. If Perez loses second place I think that’s the end…

  2. “there’s no pre-mandate on Checo that you have to finish second or you won’t be driving the car next year. That’s never been discussed

    Horner did not say that Perez will not lose his seat if he fails to finish 2nd, just that he did not set finishing 2nd as a requirement to keep the seat.

  3. Probably, he already lost the seat, so finishing second is not the reason. This is what he probably said …

  4. Please note that as things stand, and with the available points from coming events, it’s mathematically impossible for Perez to finish the season lower than 8th.
    More to the point, his nearest rival (Hamilton) has to outscore him by an average of 5.4 points per weekend for him to lose 2nd
    So, it’s not a hopeless situation.

    1. Even so, hamilton is doing fine atm to keep that average! Consider also the fact hamilton crashed with russell the other race, he would’ve gained a lot of points on perez if not for that.

  5. Perez had very solid pace early in the year, Pace that was good enough to be fighting for & earning some poles & wins.

    You don’t simply lose that pace and forget how to drive a few races later unless something changes with the car so I think it’s pretty clear that Red Bull have simply developed the car around Max & in doing so have simply put it in a window where it isn’t working for Sergio.

  6. Red Bull really don’t care what Perez doesn’t achieve so long as they have the fastest car and Max is in it to win the titles.

    1. Agree, They proved that last year in Brazil.

  7. Please bring in LEC or NOR. That would be fun for the F1 fans.

  8. So he is just saying they have no other option

  9. turn that sentence around the “if”. Perez will lose the seat nevertheless; whether he ends up second or not is irrelevant. Probably mid-season in 2024 with a swap with sister team

  10. Aah, but this is before the race in Mexico. Wait just a little bit longer.

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