Christian Horner gives strong hint on future of Sergio Perez at Red Bull

Sergio Perez’s seat at Red Bull is “his to lose” as the Mexican enters the final year of his contract with the team in 2024, says team boss Christian Horner.

Perez recorded his best-ever finish in F1 in 2023 by coming home second in the drivers’ championship, in the leading car on the grid and one of the most dominant in the history of the sport.

However, the Mexican only won two races and his form midway through the season dropped off. He was unable to sustain a title challenge to team-mate Max Verstappen and, in the end, he finished 290 points behind the Dutchman in the standings.

This led to speculation that Perez could lose his seat – with the likes of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo linked with Red Bull – but his spot for 2024 has been confirmed and Horner insisted that his fate beyond next year is completely in Perez’s hands.

"It is Checo’s seat to lose," Horner said. "He is our 2024 driver and if he does a great job next year there is no reason we wouldn’t extend him into 2025, but it will be purely based on what he achieves over the large part of the season.

"We have options in the wings. There is a lot of interest from outside the team as well, so as long as you’re competitive it puts you in a luxury position to just take your time”

Horner added that Perez’s performance in qualifying, which nosedived following the fifth race of the season in Miami, should be his main focus.

Sergio Perez’s seat at Red Bull is ‘his to lose’, says Christian Horner (Getty Images)
Sergio Perez’s seat at Red Bull is ‘his to lose’, says Christian Horner (Getty Images)

"As the field converges, it is inevitable you want your two cars as close together as you can achieve,” Horner added.

"Checo’s race pace and racing has been very strong on many occasions, it is his performance in qualifying is probably the area he needs to focus on over the winter, that he’s acutely aware of.

“He’s got to up his qualifying average so he is not having to come from so far back."

The 2024 F1 season, which features a record 24 races, starts on 2 March with the Bahrain Grand Prix.