Mexican driver Checo Pérez finds himself at a crucial juncture in his Formula 1 career, as this could potentially be his last season with the Red Bull team. Despite proving to be one of the best drivers behind the wheel, there are indications that Red Bull may be seeking to part ways with him, especially since the return of Daniel Ricciardo to the team as a reserve driver.

Checo Pérez’s recent struggles in the last three Grand Prix races have been described by Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko as a “luxury problem,” acknowledging that Checo Pérez is doing his job well but hasn’t achieved results on par with his teammate and two-time world champion, Max Verstappen.

At 80 years old, Marko, a former driver, recognizes Pérez’s contribution to the Red Bull team’s success in maintaining their position at the top of the constructors’ championship. He stated, “We also take luxury issues seriously. As for Perez, he has soberly done the job we expect him to do. He should help secure victory in the constructors’ championship, and the current standings prove him right. He has also shown that he can win races when he is at his best”.

Marko emphasized that Red Bull does not question Pérez’s abilities nor internally consider replacing him. 

With Verstappen’s continuous improvement, the question that arises is whether there is anyone who can genuinely challenge him. Marko admits, “To be honest, I don’t see anyone there.” Therefore, the suggestion that Pérez’s position is under scrutiny within the team seems to be unfounded.

But looking ahead, the Austrian Grand Prix holds significant importance as it is considered Red Bull’s home race, taking place at the Red Bull Ring. Marko commented on Pérez’s future with the team. He acknowledged that they are exploring potential options for his successor in the second seat.

One aspect that has been discussed is the role of Daniel Ricciardo, who serves as the test driver for Red Bull and participates in the team’s exhibition events. Ricciardo, currently on a sabbatical year after his time with McLaren, has been compared to Pérez and Verstappen in the simulator, where he has been half a second slower. 

It is suggested that his performance is not at the same level as during his previous tenure with the team. Further evaluation of Ricciardo’s progress will occur during the tire tests scheduled at the British Grand Prix.

Checo Pérez  must improve ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

Marko sends a clear message to Pérez as the Austrian Grand Prix approaches, emphasizing the need for improved qualifying performance. He states, “In Austria, he has to reorganize his qualifying; he can’t make any mistakes”. This event presents Pérez with an opportunity to demonstrate his capabilities and regain momentum.

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