Sergio Perez to handle major Red Bull contract boost as Helmut Marko lays out next steps….

Sergio Perez is entering the final season of his Red Bull contract off the back of a challenging 2023 campaign.

Helmut Marko has claimed that if Sergio Perez can replicate the form he demonstrated at the end of the 2023 season, he will be a contender for the second Red Bull seat for the 2025 campaign and beyond. The Mexican is entering the final year of his contract with the reigning champions and will face stiff competition to retain his drive.

Perez’s 2023 campaign began in style with the 34-year-old claiming two wins in the first four rounds. However, in the 18 Grands Prix that followed he failed to take a single other victory, and his mid-season slump provoked speculation that he could be replaced by Daniel Ricciardo a year prior to his contract’s scheduled end in 2024.

However, with three races remaining and his F1 future on the line, Perez strung together three consecutive top-four finishes to see off the threat of Lewis Hamilton and claim Red Bull’s first-ever one-two finish in the Drivers’ Championship.

 

Speaking to Motorsport-Total about Perez’s contract situation, Marko explained: “He still has a contract for 2024. It’s up to him. If he drives in a similar form to how he completed the last races, then we can easily talk about a further extension.”

The Austrian also offered an update on fellow Red Bull hopeful Ricciardo’s predicament, claiming that: “Ricciardo has to show that he has [Yuki] Tsunoda clearly under control. Then he might be a candidate.”

 

Despite the looming threat of Ricciardo and Tsunoda in what looks set to be a much-improved VCARB team, Perez is keeping his sights set solely on the opening handful of races of the 2024 campaign. “The start of the season is going to be really busy,” he said.

“So just focusing on the first few races, that’s my main objective. I don’t think I’m setting any timelines or anything like that. For now, I’m just focusing on the first five races to get the most out of it, because it’s going be taking a lot of energy out of me, I just don’t want any distractions.”

If the pre-season test in Bahrain is any to go by, Perez will almost certainly have the machinery to compete at the front of the field again in 2024. Both he and team-mate Max Verstappen demonstrated strong pace as the all-new RB20 concept hit the tarmac for the first time.

 

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