Liam Lawson’s Red Bull ‘audition’ downplayed as pressure ramps up on Sergio Perez

Christian Horner addresses Liam Lawson's upcoming F1 test for Red Bull as pressure mounts on Sergio Perez.

Sergio Perez & Liam Lawson
Sergio Perez & Liam Lawson

Red Bull F1 boss Christian Horner has shrugged off the significance of Liam Lawson’s upcoming test for the team amid speculation surrounding Sergio Perez’s future.

Over the British Grand Prix weekend, reports emerged suggesting that Perez could be replaced if he doesn’t enjoy a significant upturn in form.

The Mexican has scored just 15 points in the last six races, a worrying dip in form which could see him drop to eighth in the drivers’ championship given Mercedes’ resurgence.

Coincidentally, Red Bull junior Lawson will test the RB20 at Silverstone in a promotional event.

Speaking after the race on Sunday, Horner told media at Silverstone, where Crash.net are present in the paddock, that Lawson’s test had been planned a couple of months ago.

“The problem is if you read too much into these things, I’m actually doing a lap at Silverstone in the RB8 on Thursday as well,” Horner said. “So you never know!

“No, in all seriousness, the Liam test, aero run, has been planned for a couple of months now.”

Perez endured another miserable race at the British GP as he was lapped twice.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB20 makes a pit stop. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 12, British Grand Prix,
Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB20 makes a pit stop. Formula 1 World…

He was knocked out in Q1 after a spin at Copse before an early switch to the intermediates didn’t pay off.

“Of course, Checo, of course he's under pressure,” Horner added. “That's normal in Formula 1. And when you're underdelivering, that pressure only mounts. He’s aware of that, he knows that.

“This weekend, it just hasn’t, nothing has really gone his way. We took a gamble in the race. He started on the hard tire, he was making decent progress early on in the race. The rain started to arrive, he was P15 or 16 at the time, you roll the dice a little at that point as they did with Leclerc.

“He went onto the inter. If he’d have, if the rain had picked up, he’d have looked a hero. It didn’t. So you don’t. And then he had an extra stop and the time loss of being on an inter on a drying track was haemorrhaging a lot of time for him. So yeah. Obviously a lot to look at from over the weekend.”

Perez’s stuttering form does compromise Red Bull’s chances of winning the constructors’ championship this year.

While Red Bull are 71 points clear in the standings, McLaren are likely going to be their nearest challenger in the second half of the year due to the contrasting fortunes with Ferrari.

Horner conceded Perez’s form isn’t 'sustainable'.

“He knows it’s unsustainable to not be scoring points,” he added. “We have to be scoring points in that car, and he knows that.

“He knows his role and his target. Nobody is more eager than Checo to get back and find his form again.”

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