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Perez rubbishes F1 retirement rumours

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez has rubbished speculation that he is imminently about to announce his retirement from Formula 1.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Content Pool

At the most recent Qatar Grand Prix, as team-mate Max Verstappen won his world title, Perez was wiped out of the sprint race and copped three penalties for track limit breaches on Sunday.

Team boss Christian Horner reckoned he needed to sit Perez down for a ‘back to basics’ chat and supposed Red Bull no longer had a balanced driver pairing like Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren.

In the aftermath of the Qatari event, internet speculation spread that Perez would use his home race, the Mexican GP, at the end of October to announce his retirement from F1.

But Perez - who is contracted to Red Bull for 2024 - has moved to quash those rumours, adding that he was “just laughing” at the chatter and sees an F1 future beyond the expiration of his current deal.

“I'm just laughing at it,” he said. “There's nothing I can do. I am fully focused on my job.

“That really sums up my season. A guy said something about me and then all of a sudden, it becomes true. But I have a contract for next year and I have no reason not to complete that contract.

“I'm going to give my very best to it. I've done a commitment. But more than that, it will not be my final contract in F1.”

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Perez added that walking away from his current Red Bull woes, which he attributes to the in-season development of the RB19 affecting his confidence on corner entry, would be the “easy” option.

Explaining that he had never considered retirement, Perez continued: “It is difficult, of course. It's not ideal when you go through a patch, a difficult period of your career. But I just love the challenge of getting back at it.

“I think the easy thing would be to just walk out of it. But that's not who I am and I will not give up.

“I will have zero doubts that I will be back to my best level and that is my only target that I have in mind. I'm not even thinking about retirement or anything like that because that is the easy route.”

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While Red Bull has maintained throughout that Perez will stay put next year, team precedent for mid-season driver changes has led people to suppose that AlphaTauri racer Daniel Ricciardo will return as Verstappen’s team-mate should Perez fail to rekindle his confidence.

Addressing whether he saw a future at Red Bull beyond his current paperwork, Perez said: “I'm not thinking about that but I'm just enjoying it at the moment.

“I'm 33, I think I got some good years ahead of me. As an athlete, you want to maximise your career…

“I'm with Red Bull and I want to stay with Red Bull but obviously it has to work out for both sides.”

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