The boss of Red Bull Racing is making it clear that the Formula 1 team wants to keep driver Sergio Perez next season.
Christian Horner, Red Bull’s team principal, tried to erase doubts with his comments to motorsports.com published Friday.
“I am absolutely confident and clear that Checo (Perez) will be our driver next year,” he said. “Now, if he was injured or something like that, there are circumstances beyond our control. But the clear plan and therefore the clear intention is that he will continue.
“We’re planning to continue. We have announced the AlphaTauri drivers, we have our Red Bull Racing drivers. That is how we intend to go racing in 2024.”
Perez is second in the 2023 F1 driver standings (258 points) behind Red Bull teammate and reigning champion Max Verstappen (524), who already has clinched his third title.
Perez crashed on the first lap on Oct. 29 in Mexico City in his home country. Horner addressed Perez’s future at the time and his use of the word “intention” created speculation about the team’s plans.
“Checo (Perez) has an agreement with us for next year and that’s our intention, for him to be in the car in 2024,” Horner said at the Mexico Grand Prix. “We’ll give him all the support we can to ensure that he finishes second (in the drivers’ standings), but there’s no prerequisite that if he doesn’t finish second, you’re out.”
Horner told motorsports.com that rumors about Perez’s relationship with the team have been treated as “noise on the outside. On the inside, everything is clear.”
He believes that Perez, 33, can handle the chatter, even if it affects him.
“I’m sure it does,” Horner said. “But I think what we’ve seen with him, and one of his strengths, is he has a very thick skin. Many times he’s picked himself up, brushed himself and got back up again. So, hopefully, he’s doing the same now.”
–Field Level Media
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