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Horner clarifies “intention” remark over Perez F1 future

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has clarified recent comments about Sergio Perez’s future that some interpreted as a sign the Mexican may not be with the Formula 1 team next year.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Perez is coming off the back of a difficult spell with Red Bull that prompted speculation his place alongside Max Verstappen at the squad could be in doubt for 2024, despite him having a contract.

Those theories were further fuelled after the Mexico Grand Prix where Horner said it was the team’s “intention” to keep Perez for next season.

The use of that specific word was intriguing because it is often used in F1 to cryptically to suggest one thing is happening whereas the reality is something else is at play.

Speaking in Mexico City about Perez’s future, Horner had said: “Checo has an agreement with us for next year and that’s our intention, for him to be in the car in 2024.

“We’ll give him all the support we can to ensure that he finishes second [in the drivers' championship] but there’s no prerequisite that if he doesn’t finish second, you’re out.”

Asked by Autosport in Brazil if there was anything significant in his choice of the word “intention”, Horner made it clear there was no doubt that Perez would be with the team next year – and it was only circumstances beyond the team’s control that would mean he would not be.

“I am absolutely confident and clear that Checo will be our driver next year,” explained Horner.

“Now, if he was injured or something like that, there are circumstances beyond our control. But the clear plan and therefore the clear intention is that he will continue.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, with his engineer and Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, with his engineer and Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

“We're planning to continue. We have announced the AlphaTauri drivers, we have our Red Bull racing drivers. That is how we intend to go racing in 2024.”

While Horner has found himself having to constantly deny speculation that Perez’s future is in doubt, he is adamant that the non-stop rumours have not had an impact on Red Bull.

“It hasn't because it's only noise on the outside. On the inside everything is always clear,” he said.

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However, he acknowledged that it would have been impossible for Perez to completely isolate himself from matters – although he thinks the Mexican is capable of dealing with such chatter.

Asked if it affected Perez, Horner said: “I'm sure it does. But I think what we've seen with him, and one of his strengths is, he has a very thick skin.

“Many times he's picked himself up, brushed himself and got back up again. So hopefully he's doing the same now.”

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