Marko Doubles Down On Suggestion That Perez Weakens Red Bull's Driver Duo

Wednesday, 19 June 2024 at 22:00
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Red Bull's Helmut Marko discussed Sergio Perez in his latest interview ahead of the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix.
Sergio Perez scored four points in the last three race weekends. Following his DNF in Monaco, Red Bull announced they extended his contract for 2025 with an option for 2026 as well.
The timing of this announcement was quite unfortunate. It came right after a very unsuccessful weekend for the Mexican driver, which was followed by an even worse one in Canada.
Red Bull was happy with Perez's performance from the start of the season, but he has had a bit of a slump recently. Could it be related to the fact that he doesn't have to drive for his contract anymore?
In his most recent interview with OE24, Red Bull's motorsport advisor Helmut Marko was asked whether it was a mistake to prolong Perez's contract so early as it was followed by immediate slack off, and he responded:

"He really didn't have to stick to it. We extended his contract because we wanted to bring calm to our team, which unfortunately didn't quite work out. But now Checo has three races ahead of him on three real race tracks, so he can prove himself."

In Barcelona, Perez will be disadvantaged due to the three-place grid penalty he received during the previous race weekend. Even if he manages to qualify on the front row, he will have to make some progress through the field if he wants to finish on the podium.
In Canada, Helmut Marko was asked which driver pairing he thinks is the strongest. While he believes Max Verstappen is the best driver, he didn't say the Red Bull driver duo would be the strongest. Instead, he went with McLaren's, which consists of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.
This would suggest that Marko really isn't convinced by the performance of the 34-year-old Mexican driver. OE24 approached Marko with his previous statement and said they don't speak in Perez's favor, to which the 81-year-old responded by doubling down:

"But that's the way it is. They are young and are always very close together, especially in qualifying. And both will improve, especially Piastri."