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Helmut Marko

Red Bull to 'respect' Perez contract despite Marko 'team change' claim

Max Verstappen has dominated the current campaign, but Dr Helmut Marko believes there is one driver who could present a challenge to him at Red Bull.

Verstappen Qatar
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To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has named the one current driver who he believes could challenge Max Verstappen at the squad, though reiterated Sergio Perez's contract would be honoured.

Verstappen has enjoyed a dominant campaign and secured his third Formula 1 World Championship last time out in Qatar.

The Dutchman has easily had the measure of team-mate Sergio Perez, who is currently enduring a difficult period behind the wheel of the RB19.

Perez's low form in recent races has led to speculation that he could soon be ousted from Red Bull despite having a contract in place until the end of next year.

Marko asserted that Red Bull is vying to at least see out the contract at the Milton Keynes-based outfit.

"I may be repeating myself but Perez has a contract that we want to respect,” he told Sport1.

“We are doing everything to get him back on track. We lack the alternatives. Otherwise he might have a problem.”

Verstappen's equal?

Daniel Ricciardo has been linked to a Red Bull seat to replace Perez as the Australian has publicly declared his hunt for the drive amid his F1 comeback.

Verstappen easily bettered his competition at the team before Perez in Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon.

In 2021, he went toe-to-toe with Lewis Hamilton for the World Championship and prevailed in controversial circumstances at the Abu Dhabi.

But Marko doesn't believe that even Hamilton would be able to keep up with Verstappen at Red Bull, instead selecting another F1 veteran.

“At the moment I only see one who could come close to keeping up with Max: Fernando Alonso,” Marko declared.

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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