Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has called on Sergio Perez to boost his performance next year following a disappointing Formula 1 campaign in 2023.
After starting the season in strong fashion by winning of the opening four races, the Mexican driver struggled behind the wheel of the RB19.
Team-mate Max Verstappen dominated the season en route to his third World Championship and ended the campaign 290 points ahead of Perez.
Questions have been raised over Perez's position at the team beyond next year when his contract expires.
Horner previously asserted that Red Bull has multiple options available when it comes to deciding on who to field alongside Verstappen.
Having endured a largely challenging campaign, Horner claimed that the 34-year-old impressed in the final run of races.
“We all know what Checo [Perez] is capable of,” he told PlanetF1. “I think he just needs to work hard to achieve consistency.
“But, you know, it’s a tough gig being Max’s team-mate.
“Time and time again, he’s bounced back when he’s been under pressure, a bit under criticism from the media.
“He’s done his talking on the track, and he’s done it again, at the tail end of this year with some very strong drives.”
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'We've got to work harder'
While Red Bull cruised to double-championship success this year and broke records along the way, Horner is not expecting a similar story next season.
New technical regulations introduced last year saw Red Bull spring ahead of the competition, who has been largely unchallenged since.
However, Horner has voiced his expectation that the field will converge in the coming months and has called on Perez to be in top form in order to see off the competition.
“We’ve just got to work harder,” Horner added.
“Because we need him firing on all cylinders at 24 races next year because the competition will move closer.
“So we need both drivers as tightly bunched as we can in order to ensure that we do our utmost to defend both titles.”