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Sergio Perez

'Perez no longer secured of Red Bull seat despite contract extension'

Sergio Perez recently signed a new contract at Red Bull Racing, but that does not mean the Mexican will automatically stay in 2025, with the fight for the Constructors' championship looking tight after recent poor performances.

Perez FP1 Silverstone
Article
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

RacingNews365 understands that Sergio Perez has been told by Red Bull that he must improve his performance prior to the summer break - with clauses in his contract able to be activated to remove him from the seat.

Perez's form has dipped alarmingly since the Miami Grand Prix, scoring just 11 points in the five races, plus one sprint across Imola-Austria, with the Mexican also spinning out of Q1 at the British Grand Prix to secure a lowly 19th on the grid at Silverstone.

Prior to the race this weekend, it is understood that the team communicated its desire for him to improve his performances, with clauses in his contract meaning he could, in theory, be removed from the seat during the season if they are not met.

These clauses include not being more than 100 points behind Max Verstappen after the Belgian Grand Prix - the gap is 119 heading into the British GP - with another understood to dictate that he cannot be more than five places behind Verstappen in the standings. 

Verstappen is currently leading the Drivers' on 237 points to Perez's 118 in fifth place, although sixth-placed Oscar Piastri, seventh-placed George Russell and Lewis Hamilton in eighth have all taken chunks out of Perez's standing in recent races.

Piastri is six points behind Perez heading into round 12 of 24 of the current season at Silverstone, with Russell one point further behind the McLaren driver.

Given the upward trend of their recent performances, it is likely they will pass Perez before the Belgian GP deadline, and even possibly so in the British GP with Russell on pole and Piastri fifth.

Whilst Red Bull could tolerate Perez's mid-season slump in 2023 owing to the competitive advantage it held with the RB19, the same cannot be said this term. 

The rejuvenated threat from McLaren, Ferrari and now Mercedes has put Red Bull in a tricky position, with boss Christian Horner urging Perez to up his game. 

Article continues below.

Ricciardo must also prove himself

Across the three races before the summer break - the British, Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix, Perez will be given the opportunity to show and upward trend in form and stay in his seat. If he meets the points and position clauses in the contract outlined above, he will likely stay. 

However, the message that Perez could be replaced has also been transmitted to Daniel Ricciardo - with it understood that he received it before the Austrian Grand Prix - where he finished ninth, but he is not believed to be a contender to replace Perez given the mixed form he has shown at RB. 

If performance alone is considered, Yuki Tsunoda would be a logical replacement for Perez, but internally there does not seem to be enough support for the Japanese racer, with Liam Lawson also knocking on Red Bull's door.

However, the question mark over the Kiwi is whether it would be wise to put him alongside Verstappen after just five races in his F1 career - although Lawson does hold a joker. 

Audi has Carlos Sainz at the top of its wish-list, but Lawson is also high on Andrea Seidl's list, with patience believed to be waring thin at Audi over the time it is taking Sainz to decide on his future.

It is possible therefore that Lawson could opt to join Stake ahead of Audi's arrival next season and partner Nico Hulkenberg - with Red Bull needing to offer Lawson a race seat in its two teams to keep him.

But Perez remains the best option for the team if it is not convinced that a better option is possible, with each contender having pros and cons. 

Both Perez and Ricciardo need to up their performances, but there is no concrete option on how Red Bull could proceed - but if the six-time grand prix winner loses his seat, Lawson appears to have the best credentials to slot in alongside Verstappen.

Perez's poor qualifying at Silverstone has put him in further trouble, with it not being easy for him to recover to the points, although the predicted rain may provide him with some assistance in his recovery drive.

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