Christian Horner responds to criticism that Perez's contract was extended too soon

Christian Horner pointed out that the pressure factor always exists in a team like Red Bull.

by Sead Dedovic
Christian Horner responds to criticism that Perez's contract was extended too soon
© Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images Sport

Sergio Perez recently extended his contract with Red Bull, which means we'll be seeing this brilliant driver with the Austrian team for the next few years. However, his recent performances have not inspired much optimism among the team leaders, as it appears that the scenario from last season is repeating itself. 

The Mexican driver started last season in great form but then seemed to lose his footing, sparking rumors about whether he would remain with the team in 2024. Despite frequent sharp and critical statements from the team leaders, Perez believed in his abilities and was confident he could continue his journey with the team. 

The recent developments show that the leaders have faith in him, as Perez has secured a new contract, although his performances have been far from impressive. Fans, journalists, and experts are now questioning whether the Red Bull leaders were premature in giving Perez another chance. 

Christian Horner responded to such questions by emphasizing that Perez's value to the team is invaluable.

“Checo’s position within the team, and what he has contributed to the team, warranted that.

But, of course, there is always pressure to perform.

That is irrelevant of contracts, which we will never go into the detail of.”-Horner said, as quoted by Crash.

Christian Horner pointed out that the pressure factor always exists in a team like Red Bull, especially when you have a teammate who does better things than you. The media are the ones who immediately 'put you under the knife', and dealing with the pressure in those moments is not easy for anyone. Perez, on the other hand, showed that he knows how to deal with it, even though his performances are not very good. Horner points out that it is normal for everyone to feel pressure, especially if your team is not working perfectly.

“Checo knows it’s a pressure business,” Horner said.

“He knows the scrutiny, especially in a car that is winning races with the other driver. That’s Formula 1.

That pressure naturally exists on any teammate that is under-delivering.“

Christian Horner
Christian Horner© Mark Thompson/Getty Images Sport

Horner mentioned that when the media starts asking questions, it can be easy to lose focus. However, he has been impressed by Perez over the past four years because, whenever the pressure is really on, Perez has always been able to bounce back. He emphasized that Perez will need to dig deep to do that again.

Horner added that they are doing their best to support Perez during this challenging time

Sergio Perez and his mentality

Perez is a seasoned driver and has been on the big stage for many years. Over the years, he understood what pressure is, especially since he has been part of this team. Many believe that besides driving qualities, dealing with pressure is the most important thing. Looking at Perez, one must admit that it is not easy for him, especially when you have a talent next to you that has not appeared in years; Max Verstappen.

It's challenging to be part of a team where Verstappen is next to you, considering that the ladder is going up, and the expectations are getting higher and higher from you. Sergio is aware that being part of this team involves criticism, media pressure, and various questions. His intentions are, however, to "get away" from that, building a career calmly, trying to fulfill the expectations of the leaders.

The 34-year-old has no intention of going deep into discussions and analyzing the driver's qualities and the car's qualities. His statements are mostly measured, clear and emphasize that Perez wants to improve day by day.

Horner explained that Perez was extremely competitive in the first four or five races of the season. However, something has caused him to drop off since then. He pointed out that in Suzuka, one of the toughest tracks in the world and a true drivers' circuit, Perez was only a tenth of a second slower than Max. In contrast, at a track with only nine corners, the gap between them was much larger. Horner emphasized the need to understand what has caused this decline and to help Perez recover.

Listening to Horner's statements, one can also feel that the Red Bull team principal is much more on Perez's side, and tries to support him much more than was the case before. In the previous season, it looked as if Helmut Marko and Christain Horner were taking out all their anger regarding some negative results on Perez, who seemed like a sacrificial lamb in the whole story. They realized that without a support, it is difficult to expect him to make progress and move in the right direction.

Christian Horner Red Bull