Horner Answers 'Brutally Hard' Question Amid Rumors About Perez's Potential Replacement

F1
Saturday, 06 July 2024 at 15:15
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Christian Horner discussed Sergio Perez's "tough spell" ahead of the 12th round of the 2024 season at Silverstone Circuit.
Red Bull Racing F1 driver has had a challenging last couple of race weekends. In the five races preceding the 2024 British Grand Prix, he earned only 14 points for his team.
In comparison, Max Verstappen amassed 93 points in the same period of time. What is even more concerning for Red Bull is that this sharp decline in performance came right as the 34-year-old announced his new 1+1 year deal with Red Bull for 2025 and beyond.
Speaking to Sky Sports at Silverstone Circuit during the 2024 British Grand Prix race weekend, the team principal of Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner, said:

"Obviously, Sergio has had a tough spell. His first five races were very competitive. The last five have been nowhere, and we want to see the Sergio from the first five back."

"He knows that, he's aware of that, he's been working hard in the sim this week, working hard to understand where it's just not playing out for him."

This sudden decline in performance is something that we don't see with Checo for the first time. In fact, he went through something very similar last year (although he asserted that the 2024 situation was completely different from 2023).

"But what we've constantly seen with him is this resilience to be able to bounce back. We're hoping to see that very soon."

When the team principal of the Austrian team was directly asked whether extending the contract of the 34-year-old driver was a mistake, he responded:

"That's a brutally hard question. But, of course, the point that you sign a driver, the contents of any agreement are not going to be disclosed to all of you lot."

"So it made absolute sense to sign Checo at that point in time. But this is a business in which there are pressures to deliver."

It is quite common for teams to include performance clauses in their drivers' contracts. F1 teams want their drivers to meet certain goals, and it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that something like that is in Perez's contract as well.
If the Mexican driver didn't meet this goal, it might perhaps even lead to him being substituted, and that is exactly what the latest rumors from the paddock suggest.
According to Auto Motor und Sport, the team from Milton Keynes has been quite satisfied with Daniel Ricciardo's recent upswing in performance.
Reports suggest that if the Honey Badger can maintain the level of performance he's shown in the last three races and Perez doesn't improve significantly, Ricciardo could potentially replace the Mexican in Red Bull.