Sergio Perez has faced significant scrutiny throughout the 2023 campaign. With only Red Bull capable of winning on merit, the Mexican is the only person with the machinery to challenge Max Verstappen.
Unfortunately for Perez, an encouraging start to the season turned into a disappointing and painful decline.
Q1 and Q2 eliminations often forced the 33-year-old into damage limitation on Sundays, allowing Verstappen to create a huge Championship lead.
In many ways, Sergio Perez was punished for being prematurely declared a title contender. This early hype worsened the public reaction when his form dipped.
Although Christian Horner insists Perez is guaranteed a 2024 seat, speculation is set to continue.
This is partly thanks to the ever-controversial statements from Helmut Marko, which are very unpredictable on this topic.
Speaking with DAZN España, the 6-time race winner spoke openly about his future:
“I think that now, with the season we’ve had, it’s important in the next races to be in an environment where I feel I can contribute.
“And if that place in 2024 isn’t here, then we have to look for alternatives.
“But for now, my main focus is to stay here and win more races. And keep on winning Championships with Red Bull.
“As you say, I have a contract for next year. So, at some stage next year, we’ll see.”
Whilst the focus in the F1 space is often on Red Bull’s assessment of Perez, the Mexican’s perspective should not be overlooked.
After all, whilst race wins and podiums are easily attainable at Red Bull, he might be unwilling to make a long-term commitment to such a pressurised environment.
The constant scrutiny Perez faces, irrespective of contractual status, is bound to take a toll.
Furthermore, with the likes of Liam Lawson gathering experience, preparing a “Plan B” would be wise.
Red Bull clearly sees Checo as a short-term solution, considering their willingness to assess alternatives in AlphaTauri.
All these things considered, the driver dynamic at the Milton Keyes outfit is worth observing.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang