Father has no fears Perez will lose F1 seat

Thu, 25 April 2024, 11:00

Apr.25 (GMM) Sergio Perez’s father says he has no fear the Mexican will be left off the Formula 1 grid in 2025 and beyond.

Dr Helmut Marko made clear in Shanghai that Red Bull has turned down the 34-year-old driver’s request for a three-year contract extension – but he’s not out of the frame to keep the seat alongside Max Verstappen next year.

“It makes me happy that Sergio is showing stronger performances in this first part of the season than he did a year ago,” the 80-year-old team advisor wrote in his latest Speed Week column.

“Checo no longer goes into the race with the aim of beating Max at all costs. What I mean by that is that in 2023 he almost desperately went his own way when the speed wasn’t right, to try to get closer to Max using a different setup. But he’s given up on that,” Marko explained.

Marko insists that he still has concerns about Perez’s qualifying pace. “When he is stuck in traffic, he is less able to make use of his qualities as a tyre whisperer,” said the Austrian.

Marko has also now mentioned Lando Norris, who is under contract at McLaren, for the fourth time in a couple of weeks. “He makes a big impression,” he said, “and has Oscar Piastri more under control than last year.”

However, Niki Lauda’s son Mathias notes the dilemma: “The problem is that Max feels very comfortable with Perez. No top driver wants a teammate who can annoy him.”

Marko left China last weekend admitting that talks with Perez are ongoing.

“Look at (Fernando) Alonso,” said Perez’s father, Mexican politician Antonio Perez Garibay. “Checo can be there (in F1) for ten more years.”

It is rumoured Perez’s back-up plan for 2025 is Aston Martin, perhaps explaining why that team is oddly reluctant to announce a new deal with the team owner’s son Lance Stroll.

“Checo has many scenarios,” Perez senior insists to Relevo, a Spanish language sports publication.

“He is the most sought-after driver in F1 today, and the one with the most sponsors – more than Max and (Lewis) Hamilton combined,” he added.

“Companies all over the world rely on him. There is never any of his merchandising left because it always sells out so quickly.”

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