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Szafnauer Endorses Pérez for Red Bull's 2025 Lineup

Szafnauer Endorses Pérez for Red Bull’s 2025 Lineup

30/04/2024

Otmar Szafnauer advocates for Sergio Pérez’s continuation with Red Bull into 2025, emphasizing his crucial role in past successes.

Otmar Szafnauer, who has worked with Sergio Pérez for several years at Force India and then Racing Point, and who was also the director at Alpine F1, has advised Red Bull to retain the same driver next year.

“I was in Abu Dhabi, David Coulthard was with me on stage, and I was asked, ‘If you were Christian Horner, who would you replace Checo with?’ I answered, ‘Knowing Checo well, I would replace Checo with Checo. If I were Christian, I would keep him next year,'” Szafnauer stated.

He then highlighted Pérez’s role at Red Bull since 2021 despite some difficulties: “Let’s not forget that the first year Max won, it was partly thanks to Checo, partly due to circumstances. Don’t just look at the last race, but also all the others that contributed to that victory.”

“It was during that time that he was nicknamed in Mexico the ‘minister of defense’ or something like that. He has had his lows. This year, from what I can see, apart from a few races where I think he should have finished a bit higher, he is doing the job.”

Szafnauer has been impressed by Sergio Pérez’s resilience, disappointed only once, in Singapore in 2018, where he deliberately collided with Sergey Sirotkin after hitting Esteban Ocon at the start: “There are few times during the period he worked for me when we wondered why he had acted as he did.”

“There’s only one time I remember, in Singapore, where he was frustrated and hit a Williams, but the rest of the time, he is very, very good at overtaking without making mistakes. He is really good in this area.”

Pérez Had an “Advantage” in Race Management

Szafnauer recalls Pérez, not always comfortable in qualifications, but formidable in races, particularly in managing tires: “When he was up against Hülkenberg, the latter always beat him over one lap. But in the end, Checo could manage his tires, and he would catch up.”

“After 12 laps, Hülkenberg would say on the radio, ‘my rear tires are worn out.’ Even when the race was front-limited, his rear tires were worn. But Checo? Never. He simply has that ability.”

“I hired Jun [Matsuzaki, chief performance engineer for tires], one of the best tire specialists, and he would tell him, ‘in this corner, make sure not to put lateral load on the tire, as it will wear out faster.'”

“So, the drivers knew that in certain corners, they should only apply longitudinal load. They had to wait until they were on the straight before stepping on the accelerator. Checo could do it, and he didn’t even need to be told. He seemed to know what the tire was doing, and that’s an advantage.”

Szafnauer Endorses Pérez for Red Bull's 2025 Lineup

Szafnauer Endorses Pérez for Red Bull’s 2025 Lineup. Szafnauer Endorses Pérez for Red Bull’s 2025 Lineup

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