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Red Bull's Tough Call Tsunoda Lawson Ricciardo

Perez’s Role at Risk Post-Belgium GP: Who’s Next?

08/07/2024

Post-Belgium GP, Red Bull faces a tough decision. Will Tsunoda, Lawson, or Ricciardo replace Perez?

Things are becoming clearer regarding Sergio Perez’s situation at Red Bull Racing.

A specific performance clause in the new contract signed by Sergio Perez could trigger a major reshuffle affecting both of Red Bull’s Formula 1 teams.

Perez’s performance decline continued post-contract at Silverstone, where he spun in Q1 and finished no higher than 17th place on Sunday.

For now, Dr. Helmut Marko, the team’s F1 consultant, supports Perez amidst growing pressure, encouraging improvement.

“We expect Sergio to bounce back. He has overcome crises several times before. Any other driver would struggle against Max too. Max is in the form of his life and keeps improving.”

However, Christian Horner has acknowledged that Perez’s position is no longer tenable (read here), and a clause has been disclosed: if Perez is more than 100 points behind his teammate by the Belgian Grand Prix—the last race before the summer break—Red Bull can terminate his contract.

Currently, the gap between the two is substantial at 137 points and shows no signs of closing. Thus, Perez’s performance in Hungary and Belgium could decide his fate, not necessarily the strict financial situation. Red Bull is not obligated to activate the clause even as team pressure mounts.

Horner and Perez had a lengthy discussion before Silverstone, during which Perez was told he needed to improve before the summer break to retain his seat.

Perez’s predicament is compounded by Red Bull’s contract with Liam Lawson, who will test the RB20 during a “filming day” at Silverstone this week, securing him a racing seat by 2025.

An imminent reshuffle is a very real possibility, with Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda as potential keys.

At this stage, anyone could take Perez’s seat at Zandvoort: Perez himself, Daniel Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda, or Liam Lawson!

And Horner jokes: “I’m also going for a spin at Silverstone with the RB8 on Thursday, so you never know!”

“More seriously, Liam’s aerodynamic test has been planned for a few months now, but of course, Checo is under pressure, that’s normal in Formula 1.”

“Every driver is different, some need an arm around the shoulder, others a kick in the backside, it varies week by week.

“When you’re not doing enough, the pressure only mounts, and he’s aware of that, he knows it, and this weekend, nothing really went as he wanted.”

What are Red Bull Racing’s options then?

“You can never rule anything out. We have Liam, Daniel, Yuki, and of course, Checo.”

Some already advocate for a Verstappen – Tsunoda duo at Red Bull and a Ricciardo – Lawson duo at RB F1. But why test Lawson?

“Yuki is with us with options for several years because we believe he has talent. You never know, maybe he’ll have a test one day. You never know. This time it was planned for Liam.”

“Yuki is a Red Bull Racing driver. He has a contract with Red Bull Racing and we’ve renewed it because he’s been performing. We’re very aware of his performances, no need for a test.”

Red Bull's Tough Call Tsunoda Lawson Ricciardo

Red Bull’s Tough Call Tsunoda Lawson Ricciardo? Red Bull’s Tough Call Tsunoda Lawson Ricciardo?

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