Red Bull Racing will open contract talks with their second driver Sergio Perez this summer at the earliest as the special advisor Helmut Marko admits wanting to see better qualifying results from the Mexican driver.
Just like in 2019 with Pierre Gasly and in 2020 with Alexander Albon, Marko admitted that Red Bull would start getting into contract talks with their second driver over the summer break.
“We’ll start thinking about it in the summer at the earliest,” Marko told Formel1.de.
“We are now fully focused on the world championship, and we don’t see any problem there in terms of who will be Max Verstappen’s teammate next year.”
“We are a very sought-after partner on the driver market. I don’t think a driver will enter into negotiations or a deal with any other team until he has tried to come to an agreement with us.”
In 2019, these summer talks turned out to be decisive in Gasly’s career as the French driver was dropped by the mother team and sent back to Toro Rosso, to the benefit of Albon.
One year later, after the Thai driver was given more time than his French counterpart, but the same conclusions were to be drawn: the pace of Red Bull’s second driver was absent although this same driver proved to be tremendously talented during his time at Toro Rosso.
Albon was warned during the summer break and asked to prove himself if he wanted to assert his position within the Austrian team. Nonetheless, all his efforts, unfortunately, did not convince the directorial duo and the 25-year-old was imposed the same sentence at Gasly, this time in the favor of Perez.
This year again, the scheme will seemingly repeat itself with Perez. The beginning of the season was not resounding for the Mexican driver. However, he still proved his great racing intelligence and his amazing tire management, securing a P4 finish after starting in P9 during the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix.
Taking a critical look at Perez’s recent form, Marko admitted being satisfied with the early performances of the Mexican although he still needed to improve his qualifying pace to secure better results and assert his position at Red Bull.
“Let’s start with the positive, that’s the race performance,” Marko said.
“It’s very good, sometimes at Max’s level. He proved that in Monte Carlo when we went for the overcut. That was three or four laps where he drove the fastest laps overall, with already very used tires. So the race pace is there.”
“The area where we’re still lacking is in qualifying. We need to see an improvement there.”