Formula One

Perez on Ricciardo’s return: “It doesn’t change anything”

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Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

The future of Sergio Perez may be under danger, but the Mexican driver has claimed that he is not fazed by the fact that Daniel Ricciardo is back in Formula 1 this weekend. The Australian has replaced Nyck de Vries at Alpha Tauri for at least the remainder of this season.

Of course, the potential ripple effects of this decision by Red Bull and Alpha Tauri have led to plenty of speculation among F1 fans and media. Ricciardo obviously was regarded as one of the best drivers in the sport in his days at Red Bull and Renault, but his stint at McLaren raised plenty of questions regarding his level.

The following twelve races give the eight-time race winner the chance to get acclimated again in Formula 1, as well as hit the reset button after a disastrous 2022 campaign in McLaren. Red Bull could also use this time to assess the speed of Ricciardo, as well as that of his teammate, Yuki Tsunoda.

Also contributing to the rumours is the ongoing slump in form by the team’s current driver, Sergio Perez, which is reflected by the fact that the Mexican has been unable to progress to Q3 for the past five races and has only scored a podium in that timespan, while his teammate has gone on to win all five races from pole position.

Perez currently has a contract with Red Bull until 2024, which gives him a bit of comfort, but it is no secret that his seat is under threat even for next season, especially if his performances are not up to standard. After all, Red Bull has proved over the years that it can get quite ruthless when it comes to managing its drivers.

The current second-place holder in the drivers’ standings, who sits 99 points behind his teammate, Max Verstappen in the standings spoke to media ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix regarding his situation. He claims that his seat is secure for 2024 and that 2025 is too far to think about:

From my side, it doesn’t change anything, because like I’ve said, I drive for Red Bull.

There’s not just Daniel out there, it’s Yuki [Tsunoda], more than half of the grid will love to drive for Red Bull. So it doesn’t change anything.

I’ve been in F1 for 13 years so I’m not a guy that any more thinks so much further ahead.

I’ve been with the engineers, so to be honest, I haven’t even had the time to discuss what’s going on with Daniel. I think it’s a great opportunity for him. And that’s it.

I’m focusing on Hungary and then in Belgium, I’m not really thinking about 2025, it’s so far ahead. It’s nonsense to think that far away.

Whether the pressure of having Ricciardo and Tsunoda challenging for his seat will have a positive effect remains to be seen, but the two races that follow will be crucial for Perez and his future at Red Bull. The team has brought upgrades, focused around the sidepod area, so the opportunity for Perez to return to form comes at a good time.

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