In a dominant display at the Qatar Grand Prix, newly crowned three-time world champion Max Verstappen secured victory for Red Bull Racing, leading from lights to flag. However, his teammate, Sergio Perez, faced a challenging race, starting from the pitlane and ultimately finishing 10th, hampered by three five-second penalties for repeatedly exceeding track limits.
Amid Perez’s ongoing struggles, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner expressed the need for a reset for the driver, emphasizing the importance of a return to basics and rebuilding his confidence ahead of the upcoming United States, Mexico, and Brazilian Grand Prix triple-header.
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Horner also acknowledged that Red Bull Racing might have lost the driver pairing consistency it enjoyed earlier in the season, which had been comparable to the closely matched line-ups at McLaren, Ferrari, and Mercedes.
“I think with a car like we have, he’s probably putting that pressure on himself,” said Horner. “The most important thing for us is winning both [drivers’ and teams’] championships. We’ve done that. And then, what’s the next best thing after that would be to have both your drivers first and second.”
Horner went on to mention that while Perez has been working with a psychological coach, the issues seem to be more mental than physical. He expressed concern about carrying a mismatched driver pairing into the next year, as Perez is under contract with the team until 2024.
“The frustration is that we know what Checo has been capable of doing,” Horner said. “As a team, we need him to find that form because if, as you would expect, the grid continues to concertina next year, we need both drivers delivering at the top of the game.”
While there has been speculation about potential driver line-up changes, Horner affirmed that Red Bull Racing is committed to providing all possible support to help Perez regain his form and perform at his best.
The challenges faced by Perez and Red Bull Racing will undoubtedly be closely watched as the 2023 season unfolds, with fans and experts eager to see how the team addresses its driver dynamics and strives to maintain its competitive edge on the Formula 1 grid.
As the Formula 1 season heads into its final stages, all eyes are eagerly turning towards the upcoming Las Vegas Grand Prix, scheduled for November. This inaugural event promises to be a spectacle like no other, with the iconic Las Vegas Strip serving as the backdrop to the race. The dazzling lights and vibrant atmosphere of the city are set to provide a unique and thrilling experience for both fans and drivers alike. The Las Vegas Grand Prix marks an exciting expansion of the Formula 1 calendar, bringing the pinnacle of motorsport to a new and dynamic location, and it’s sure to be a highlight of the 2023 season. Racing enthusiasts from around the world are counting down the days until the desert city becomes the epicenter of Formula 1 action, adding a touch of glamour and excitement to the championship’s global journey.