Formula 1 contract extended by 2 years

Even with a diverse driver market and some high-caliber competition, Sergio Perez has managed it: at the beginning of June, long before the Formula 1 summer break, he successfully concluded his contract negotiations with Red Bull, as hoped. The team prefers consistency to exciting alternatives.

“Now is an important time to announce our line-up for 2025 and we are delighted to continue working with Checo,” commented team boss Christian Horner. Like the last one, this deal will also last for two years, so it will not expire until the end of 2026. This is the first year of the new rules and the first with Ford as Red Bull’s partner. Horner points to important continuity and stability in this regard: “Max and Checo are a successful and robust partnership.” Teammate Max Verstappen has a contract until 2028.

“Being part of the team is an immense challenge and one that I love,” says Perez himself. “We have a big challenge ahead of us this year and I have complete confidence in the team that the future here is a bright one and I am happy to be a part of it.” Perez, who joined the team in 2021, played his part in two team titles, taking five victories and the runner-up title in 2023. He also played a key role as a blocker in the 2021 World Championship final, which opened the door to the title for Verstappen at the time.

Perez saves himself from another low point with a new Red Bull contract

However, in the hot negotiation phase of the last few weeks, the Perez deal hit slippery ground with weak weekends. Memories of his long slump in 2023 were awakened. At that time, with two wins in the first four races, he actually seemed to finally show that he wanted the second cockpit alongside Max Verstappen deserved it. But then he was badly beaten by Verstappen in the 2023 Miami GP and slipped into a serious slump in form.

Perez produced scrap several times, including in Monaco, in 2023, Photo: LAT Images
Perez produced scrap several times, including in Monaco, in 2023, Photo: LAT Images

In 2023, Perez finished 285 to 575 against Verstappen in points, 2 to 19 in victories, and 2 to 25 in qualifying, with an average deficit of over half a second. Although it was enough for the runner-up title and the team world championship, after the summer break three drivers from rival teams scored more points. This fueled speculation about an end to Red Bull. During the same period, the team promoted Daniel Ricciardo to the B team Racing Bulls. Openly with the intention of evaluating his potential.

Ricciardo, who celebrated seven victories with Red Bull between 2014 and 2018, was never able to assert himself alongside Yuki Tsunoda. At the same time, Perez started the decisive 2024 season with a new approach. No more setup experiments, which had repeatedly caused him to fall behind. With four podiums in the first five races, this seemed to bear fruit.

However, this was followed by two poor races at the European opener in Imola and Monaco. This caused him to drop to fifth place in the World Championship. Red Bull was warned, but also prepared to dismiss it as an outlier on an otherwise positive form curve. Horner confirmed this again at the extension: “We have confidence in Checo and look forward to him returning to the proven form and confidence that we have seen so often.” More on Perez’s recent problems can be found here:

Based on the races before the interim low, Perez has taken a place at Red Bull in 2024 that the team envisions. Clear number two behind triple world champion Max Verstappen, albeit usually with a fairly significant gap, usually more than three tenths in qualifying. Compared to other Verstappen teammates, this still looks statistically acceptable. But it also means that Perez can no longer easily make it into the top three, given the gaps that have shrunk in the top battle with McLaren and Ferrari.

Red Bull abandons driver market alternative Carlos Sainz

Alternatives on the There would actually have been quite a few Formula 1 drivers available in 2024. At least there was a potential top driver available in the form of the outgoing Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, one who even came from the Red Bull Junior Team before seeking his fortune elsewhere.

But for one thing, Sainz had been Max Verstappen’s teammate in the B team for a good year. The two didn’t give each other much back then, and the relationship was not without friction internally. For another, Sainz is playing with his market value. He has converted this into several offers that do not require him to sit in a cockpit next to Max Verstappen. According to Red Bull motorsport advisor Dr. Helmut Marko, the offer from Audi-Sauber is also significantly more lucrative than what Red Bull had in mind.

At the beginning of the season, Sainz was mentioned in the same breath as Red Bull a few times, but it never seemed to go beyond the initial discussions. Fernando Alonso also put an end to the rumours of a Red Bull rapprochement early on with a new Aston Martin contract. The remaining Racing Bulls options, Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo, lost in the final round to Perez, who also has Mexican sponsors and whose brand value in Mexico is enormous.

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