Key Perez trait identified that separates him from failed Red Bull drivers

Christian Horner has pointed at a crucial aspect of Sergio Perez’s ability that separates him from previous axed Red Bull drivers.
Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 Testing, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Tuesday.
Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 Testing, Yas Marina…

Red Bull are notoriously demanding of their drivers and many have passed through their ranks - Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon are examples who didn’t make the grade but have recovered to forge F1 careers.

This approach has put Red Bull on top of the Formula 1 world, with star driver Max Verstappen the winner of the past three championships.

Perez, whose form nose-dived so badly that it created noise about his own future this year, possesses one crucial attribute that has allowed him to hang around at Red Bull, Horner claims.

“If you’re not psychologically strong you won’t cope being [Max’s] teammate, it’s as simple as that,” the team principal told the Sky F1 podcast.

“He’s just relentless in his pace, in the way that he operates. 

Remote video URL

“I think that’s one of the positives for Checo, he’s had the strength of character of being able to deal with that. 

“We’ve seen that break others in the past. It’s a tough gig to be his teammate.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Gasly and Albon have each teamed with Verstappen during his rise to glory at Red Bull.

Horner insists that Perez’s mental strength to cope with Verstappen’s brilliance is what has allowed him to maintain his position in the second car.

“We always field the most competitive cars we can,” Horner said. 

“There’s never a difference between the two cars. We had an era with Sebastian where he was incredibly dominant and it was difficult to be his teammate. 

“Now with Max, exactly the same thing. He’s a machine. He’s certainly the best driver currently in F1 as a three-time world champion and to be his teammate is incredibly tough.”

But Horner also picked out the area which Perez must improve.

“His biggest resolution would be to sort his qualifying out. 

“That has been his achilles heel at certain points this year. 

“I think if he can do that, his race pace is always strong, he races very well. 

“We need him qualifying nearer the front, nearer to Max, putting more pressure on.

“We can’t afford him to go missing at certain points of the championship and have that consistency. 

“He finished second this year, third last year, fourth the year before, so he’s on the right trajectory!”

Perez clung onto P2 in the drivers’ standings this year, improving one place from 2022.

Although Perez’s immediate future at Red Bull appears secure, despite mounting doubt through 2023, it will swiftly come under pressure again when the new season begins.

He is out of contract in 2025 and in possession of the quickest car on the Formula 1 grid.

Ricciardo, now at AlphaTauri, is heavily linked with a return to Red Bull to replace him.

Read More