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Formula 1 Austrian GP

Red Bull quashes Perez’s F1 seat at risk talk

Red Bull has rubbished any suggestion that Sergio Perez’s Formula 1 future with the team is in doubt on the back of his recent struggles.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, and Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, in Parc Ferme after the Sprint race

The Mexican driver has had a disappointing run of races, which has included him getting knocked out of Q2 for the Austrian Grand Prix after falling foul of three separate track limits offences.

Ahead of an imminent run in an RB19 for Daniel Ricciardo after the British Grand Prix, where he will conduct Red Bull’s Pirelli tyre test, there have been inevitable suggestions that the Australian could put himself in contention for an F1 comeback.

This idea was further embellished when Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko told Austrian TV last week that it wanted to use the test to evaluate where Ricciardo ‘really stands’ amid questions about Perez’s form.

But Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has moved quickly to quell the idea that Perez is at risk of losing his seat.

Asked by Sky about the possibility of there being a vacant seat for Ricciardo at Red Bull next year, Horner said: “No, Checo is fixed. Everybody's fully behind [him]. So any talk about replacing Checo is wide of the mark.”

While Horner expressed some annoyance after qualifying at the Red Bull Ring about Perez taking unnecessary risks in Q2, he says that he is at least encouraged that his driver has shown some good speed.

“The most pressure he's under is the pressure he puts himself under,” said Horner. “Here he had the pace, and in practice one he was right there. The lap times he was doing, he was within a tenth of Max.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“So that's the annoying thing. That's the frustration, that he can do it. And I think it's just a great shame, because I think this would have really kickstarted things for him.

“The frustration for us as a team is now we have two Ferraris that are a little closer, versus one Red Bull, with Checo out of position.”

Ricciardo’s Silverstone run has also ramped up the pressure on AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries, who has had a disappointing season so far.

Marko has prompted plenty of talk that de Vries needs to lift his game if it he is to see out the season, but Horner says the situation is not as extreme as that.

“There's no plan to replace Nyck de Vries at the moment,” he said. “You have got to give these guys a bit of time. Of course we have got a junior programme, and we've got Daniel in the stable as well.

“He's going to be driving the car, testing the Red Bull car after the Silverstone race. So it will be great to see where he's at, where his confidence is at, and what he does.”

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