Dutch racing driver and pundit Tom Coronel has insisted Sergio Perez is not guaranteed a spot with Red Bull next year as F1 contracts are like "toilet paper".
The Mexican driver sits second in the Drivers' standings behind teammate Max Verstappen, though a self-confessed rough patch of form between the Miami Grand Prix and the Hungarian Grand Prix has left him 125 points behind the two-time champion.
Pressure was ramped up on Perez during his tough spell, which included five races in a row without a Q3 appearance, whilst Daniel Ricciardo's return to the grid with AlphaTauri in Hungary only fuelled speculation over the former's future.
But Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko and Team Principal Christian Horner have reiterated Perez's contract situation, which has him remaining with the team until the end of next season at least.
But speaking to RacingNews365, Coronel explained: "In all of Formula 1, a contract is toilet paper.
"The most money is made at the time when contracts are dissolved, you've seen that before with drivers. 'Shall we say goodbye now? Okay, so then it costs 20 million extra', but then you can move on."
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Ricciardo has been tipped to replace Perez should his comeback at AlphaTauri run smoothly.
The Australian was a mid-season replacement for Nyck de Vries, having himself been bought out of his McLaren contract following a poor showing in 2022.
On Red Bull's driver situation, Coronel added: "We all know what will happen to Perez. Come on, we know that.
"It's very clear. Marko is looking for a very strong second driver. Ricciardo was Verstappen's best teammate ever, so that's what they're looking for.
"Perez just doesn't have the consistency. A sub-topper, nothing wrong with that.
"But you're looking for a Ricciardo, who beat Sebastian Vettel [when the two were Red Bull teammates in 2014].
"Will he be the new World Champion? Well, with Max next to him, he can forget that, but one thing is for sure: you need a driver at Red Bull who will be at least second or third, and that's where Perez still shoots himself too often."