Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Perez aims to reverse “trend” of mid-season slumps in 2024

Formula 1

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Sergio Perez acknowledged he needs to understand why he hasn’t been able to perform consistently across a season since joining Red Bull.

His downward trajectory over the 2023 season was more noticeable than in his previous two with Red Bull due to the team’s dominance. His only win in 2021 came in round six of 22, but although he never finished higher than third after that, he scored 18 more points in the first half of the season than the second half.

Last year was a similar story, as Perez won twice in the first four rounds but never again. From being 14 points behind team mate Max Verstappen after five rounds, he was 99 down another five events later.

“I think it’s been a trend,” he told media including RaceFans at the end of the season.

“I want to be able to hit consistency, to build a platform,” said Perez. “I think what we lacked this year is the progression.”

His strong start to the season was quickly reversed. “We started the year really high, on par with Max, but we were just not able to evolve through the season,” said Perez. “If anything, we went backwards at times.

“So I think that will be my main priority, to be able to progress through the season, wherever I start. It’s just important that weekend by weekend we keep evolving and keep just getting better and better.”

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He first noticed his lack of progression in Monaco and Barcelona, which hosted rounds six and seven of the season.

“I had a few bad weekends,” he acknowledged. “We started the year really strongly the first five, six races, but then we couldn’t progress together with the car. That’s something I lacked this year that I want to improve massively onto next year.

“I think these problems that we had this year really made me understand a lot more what I was doing with the set-up, how I was setting up the car, which direction I need to go when I get issues. So it’s something that definitely is going to make us stronger come next year.”

Although Perez was championship runner-up, he scored less than half of the points of his title-winning team mate. After his run of success in the first five rounds, he was out-scored by McLaren’s Lando Norris over the rest of the campaign and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc were within 10 points of his tally over that period.

“We’re going to focus massively on making sure we are able to progress with [the car] through the season. I think that’s the main thing, because if you think about how we started the year, if we were able to keep progressing through the year we would have had a much stronger season,” said Perez.

“We had that deficit within the car, with the car set-up, that we were playing around weekend by weekend and we were just not able to progress through it. But once we managed to get on top of that, we understood a lot of things that we were trying to compensate for. And that basically means that we were just not doing things right.”

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Author information

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...
Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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13 comments on “Perez aims to reverse “trend” of mid-season slumps in 2024”

  1. Yes, but can he reverse the trend of being a bang-average driver?

    1. Harsh but spot on. Perez has never been the fastest driver anywhere. Off the track he seems to be a super guy, who has his own foundation, providing homes to many less fortunate than him. On track he is no slouch, let’s be honest, none of these guys are, but he seems to equate with lack of cornering speed with a need to use other cars as a braking device. On track aggression is not the answer. Just that final lack of cojones in the corners.

      I would LOVE to see someone else pushing the very brilliant RB to it’s limit. Nando would be fun up against Max. But a young buck really required.

  2. “So I think that will be my main priority, to be able to progress through the season, wherever I start. It’s just important that weekend by weekend we keep evolving and keep just getting better and better.”

    Good plan, well thought out…..

    1. Yeah, the real issue is the execution of that plan. I guess we’ll get to see how that goes next year!

  3. As usual, he was probably asked a question.

    I doubt he excitedly approached reporters with his feverishly devised master plan for next season.

    Give him a break.

  4. You need to learn how to drive in high speed corners with this RB. Otherwise you will forever remain clueless about how Max is fast.

  5. Pérez would do himself a world of good if he just settled for coming 2nd and winning a bunch of races. He should have had no problem finishing on the podium this season, and that he failed more often than not is a sign that his approach isn’t working. There’s a job here for Horner, too, as its his car Pérez is driving. If he doesn’t dare to manage two A-listers, he should at least do a better job managing this combination.

    But Pérez is also a better driver than he showed in 2023, and he seems to be overextending himself trying to keep up with Verstappen – which maybe only one or two drivers on the grid today could do in the same car. Realistic goals are important, both for motivation and for mental health in general.

    1. Couldn’t agree more with this comment. It’s blindingly obvious isn’t it.

      Also, with Red Bull and Verstappen having such an advantage this season, it’s crazy to lean the car so heavily towards Verstappen’s driving style leaving Perez to struggle. Verstappen is the more adaptable driver (no slight on Perez) so why not give him a little more work to do and make Perez’s life a little easier, in turn improving the whole TEAM result?

      Open goal or what?

      1. That sounds reasonable except that VER creates a big crisis every time who does not win a race (and perhaps rightly so). So, it is better to keep VER happy and have PER have a hard time.

  6. Coventry Climax
    21st December 2023, 19:22

    Surely yoyo-ing in qualifications doesn’t help much either. Any plans there, mr. Perez?

    Anyway, it doesn’t matter what he says; I rate it 90% likely ’24 wil be yet another deception.

  7. It all depends whether he and his engineer actually understand what is going on. If they still haven’t got it figured out the same results will happen. If they’ve made a breakthrough then you would expect his confidence to grow and his performance to get closer to Max more consistently.

  8. I’m sure RB has plans to curtail such aspirations.

  9. I still remember all of the messages of support for PER when he won his first race in 2020 and did not have seat for the following year. Now he is not worth of being at RBR. I have never seen him at WC level but he was the only midfield driver that consistently took podiums. His weakness has always been the Saturdays but his racecraft on Sundays is one the best. VER has had four teammates, all with similar fate as PER and two of them are doing much better (even shining) in different teams (RIC was already there when VER joined and quickly became the second driver). I would love to see PER at AlphaTauri to see what he can do if he leads the team the same way he did at Force India/RacingPoint.

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