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Red Bull Racing

Why Perez staying at Red Bull is not key to paying Verstappen's salary

Ralf Schumacher recently caused quite a stir with a remarkable claim about the reason why Sergio Perez is likely staying at Red Bull - but he appears to be wide of the mark.

Verstappen Perez
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

It was Ralf Schumacher who recently suggested that Red Bull retaining Sergio Perez was key to the team being able to afford Max Verstappen's extraordinary salary.

Schumacher was asked whether the F1 outfit would be wise to re-sign Perez, as it looks increasingly likely that a contract extension is imminent.

There are several arguments as to why Red Bull retaining Perez makes sense from the team's perspective, one of which you could arguably link to Verstappen's salary.

Multiple F1 grand prix winner Schumacher claimed that Red Bull needs the sponsorship money Perez brings with him to offset the three-time champion's reputed $55 million-per-year deal.

Speaking to Formel1, Schumacher said: "As long as Verstappen stays with Red Bull - and that's what I've heard at least once - Red Bull is struggling with a tight budget limit, and Perez brings money with him."

If Schumacher is talking about the overall budget limit in F1, in recent years teams have needed less money to survive in the sport following the arrival of the cost cap. Each team is allowed to spend a maximum of $135m, regardless of sponsorship income.

Yes, Verstappen's salary is not included in that figure. But even if Verstappen earns the reputed $55m-a-year figure when added to the cost cap limit, it still does not exceed $200m.

To put that into perspective, less than four years ago, Red Bull allegedly operated on an annual budget of roughly $400m, and it managed to do so pre-Perez without a problem.

Since then, and especially since returning to title-winning success, Red Bull has had no trouble in attracting sponsors of the calibre of Oracle and ByBit, who pay vast sums for their brands to adorn the cars.

So the claim Red Bull needs Perez at all costs to help pay for Verstappen is extremely unlikely. That doesn't mean the sponsorship income is not welcome, with the likes of Telcel, Mobil, Claro, and Nescafé bringing in a considerable five-figure sum between them.

It is possible to be a major driver in holding on to Perez, but all-important for the survival of the fairytale marriage between Red Bull and Verstappen? Not at all.

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