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Perez told Red Bull F1 seat in 2025 is his to lose

Sergio Perez has been told that a Formula 1 seat at Red Bull in 2025 is his to lose as he heads into the final year of his current contract.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Jake Grant / Motorsport Images

The Mexican endured a rollercoaster campaign this season, starting the season strongly but fading away before bouncing back in the final races.

Red Bull is committed to Perez for the start of the 2024 campaign but has been clear that it wants him to battle more consistently nearer the front if it is to consider offering him a fresh deal.

But with the squad happy to bide time over making a decision, especially as it has options like Daniel Ricciardo able to be slotted in if needed, it says it will not be rushed to make a call about who will be Max Verstappen’s team-mate in 2025.

Speaking about the team’s thought process about what it does with Perez beyond next year, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said: “I think the luxury position we're in, is that we're not in any rush.

“We've got loads of options and I think it is Checo's seat to lose.

“He's the one that we're backing. He's our 2024 driver. And if he does a great job next year, there's no reason that we wouldn't extend him into 2025. But it'd be purely based on what he achieves over what will be a large part of the season.”

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Erik Junius

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

Horner said that, with rivals expected to close in on Red Bull next year, it was essential that both its cars were maximising performance.

This is in contrast to much of this year where, while Verstappen was in a class of his own at the front of the field, Perez found himself battling in the midfield amid his various struggles.

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Horner conceded that racing alongside Verstappen was not easy, but that was no excuse not to have the team’s second car right up there.

“I think that being Max's team-mate is tough, and I think that you've got to have a certain resolve and character to be prepared to go up against Max,” he said.

“But as the field converges, it is inevitable that you want your two cars as close together as you can achieve.

“With Checo, his race pace and his racing, has been very strong on many occasions. It's his performance in qualifying that is probably the area that he needs to focus on over the winter.

“But he's acutely aware that he's got to up his qualifying average, so that he's not having to come from so far back.”

Horner believes the qualifying issue comes simply from Perez needing to get more confidence in the car, as that was critical to extracting the most from tyres.

“I think it's not needing time to build up, so it's confidence at the end of the day,” said Horner.

“It's being able to extract the most out of a single lap at the highest point of grip that you have on a new set of tyres. And at the beginning [of the year], he was doing that very well.

“If you look in Bahrain, he was quick. If you look at his early races, his qualifying in Saudi with a pole there. In Azerbaijan, he was outstanding all weekend. Miami as well in qualifying.

“Then things started to unfold from there. But I think it's an area he's going to focus hard on, because he knows it's an element that's crucial for him for next year.”

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