Oct.18 (GMM) Sergio Perez has dismissed rumours that he might announce his retirement from Formula 1 at his home grand prix in Mexico next week.
“Rumours are rumours,” former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde said on the DRS De Race Show podcast on Tuesday.
Amid his form slump, and despite his 2024 contract to remain Max Verstappen’s teammate next year, it has been suggested Perez has decided to quit F1 in order to spend more time with his young family.
“He’s still relatively young,” van der Garde said. “If I were him, I would keep going.
“On the other hand, the mental aspect also plays a role now. The question is whether Perez can still handle the pressure.”
There is no denying, however, that Red Bull is enjoying something of an abundance of driver choices at present – with Daniel Ricciardo returning from injury, relegating the impressive rookie Liam Lawson to the 2024 bench.
“There’s always so much talk,” Lawson, 21, told the Sports Entertainment Network program Grid Walk this week.
“And no matter how positive people are or what they’re saying, I don’t think I’ll be satisfied until I have a racing contract in my hand.
“Two months ago, I was definitely not being considered for Formula 1 and to be honest, it felt like it was starting to slip away a little bit,” the New Zealander added.
“And I think now with this opportunity, that’s really helped that and at least maybe there’s an opportunity in the future.”
Van der Garde thinks Red Bull will also be watching Ricciardo closely this weekend as he returns from a five-race absence to heal his broken hand.
“He’ll need to be right there,” said the Dutchman. “Admittedly, Ricciardo hasn’t driven many kilometres this year, but he does have the experience.
“I expect him to be close to (Yuki) Tsunoda, but above all he must make his return with humility. He has to show what he can do on the track.”
Van der Garde actually thinks Red Bull should be trying to bring former protege Alex Albon back to the senior team, even if Dr Helmut Marko has ruled that out due to his long-term contract at Williams.
“They also have Ricciardo and Tsunoda who can be promoted, but Liam Lawson has done very well and deserves a seat in Formula 1,” he said.
As for Perez and those Mexico GP retirement announcement rumours, the 33-year-old rejected them.
“Well, right now I have a contract for next year,” he is quoted by Sports Illustrated as saying this week.
“It will be important to have a good season. I am motivated to continue and I want to stay for a few more years. I believe I still have a lot to do in Formula 1.
“I’d like to stay in F1 for at least another three to four years,” Perez insisted.