- Sergio Perez faced significant challenges in the Qatar Grand Prix, finishing 10th after multiple penalties.
- Christian Horner highlighted the consistent performance of driver pairings in rival teams, drawing a contrast with Red Bull’s current pairing.
- Perez’s struggles are perceived as mental rather than physical, and he’s currently working with a psychological coach.
- Despite speculations about a potential change in the driver line-up, Red Bull remains committed to supporting Perez.
In a Qatar Grand Prix overshadowed by Verstappen’s third championship title, Perez faced a challenging race. Despite starting from the pitlane, he only managed to finish 10th. This performance was marred by three five-second penalties issued for exceeding track limits on six occasions.
Christian Horner, Red Bull’s team boss, emphasized the need for Perez to “go back to basics” and refocus before the upcoming triple-header comprising the United States, Mexico, and Brazilian GPs.
Comparisons with Rival Teams
Horner drew attention to the consistent driver pairings at rival teams like McLaren, Ferrari, and Mercedes. He stated,
“You can see Mercedes have a pair, McLaren have a pair, Ferrari have a pair that are quite tight between the respective drivers.”
In contrast, he believes Red Bull’s pairing, which started off strong, has become more varied as the season progressed.
The ultimate goal for Red Bull, after having secured both the drivers’ and teams’ championships, would be to have their drivers rank first and second, a dream that appears distant given the current scenario.
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Mental Over Physical Struggles
Horner believes that Perez’s current struggles stem more from mental challenges rather than physical ones. While Perez is working with a psychological coach, there is a growing need for him to regain his early-season form. According to a report by Microsoft Start
“The frustration is that we know what Checo has been capable of doing,”
Horner remarked, emphasizing the significant contribution of Perez to the constructors’ championship in the past seasons.
Considering Perez’s contract runs through 2024, there is anticipation and hope within the team that he will return to form. The emphasis is on the unity of the driver pairing, especially as the grid is expected to be more competitive next year.
Speculations and Support
While rumors suggest potential changes in Red Bull’s driver line-up next year, Horner reiterated the team’s commitment to Perez. He assured, “We’re going to give all the support we possibly can” to help Perez navigate through this challenging phase.