Perez takes longer to adapt to tricky car – Horner

Sergio Perez struggles to adapt as quickly as Max Verstappen when Red Bull’s car isn’t performing well, according to team principal Christian Horner.

Verstappen won the Canadian Grand Prix after starting from the front row, having matched George Russell’s pole position time in qualifying. Perez, however, dropped out in Q1 for the second consecutive race as Red Bull fought a weakness with curb riding across the past two venues, but Horner is confident he’ll rediscover his form on tracks that suit the car better.

“Checo just needs to forget Canada 2024 and turn up in Barcelona and bounce back,” Horner said. “We know that he’s very capable of doing that and I’m sure he’ll come back fighting hard in Barcelona. We were lucky that Ferrari didn’t score any points – they could have taken a lot of points out of us in the constructors’ – so we need him up there scoring as he was in the first four races.


“I think it was a combination of factors. We had an issue in qualifying that contributed a little to it, and plenty for him and the team to look at to get him back into that window as we head back to Europe.

“I think he obviously struggles with when the car isn’t behaving well, he struggles more to adapt. It perhaps takes him longer, and not having the running on Friday [in Canada] you end up on the back foot. So I think that’s something we’re looking at collectively with him to say ‘OK let’s come back strong in Barcelona.’”

The Red Bull issues over the curbs is something Verstappen says has been present since 2022, but warns the team doesn’t have the performance advantage to mask it anymore. Horner believes it’s a problem that can be addressed moving forward, and predicts a step forward in competitiveness if solutions are found.

“All of it has to work in tandem, so of course you’re pushing the aerodynamic platform of the car but you want the car to ride curbs,” he said. “What was encouraging was our Sector 3 [in Canada] was competitive. Even with the stiffness of the car rattling over that last chicane, if you look throughout the running we were competitive there. Despite it being uncomfortable, we’ve managed to be quick enough. I think there’s genuine performance there. If we can unlock that, then we’ll see it free up lap time.”

Horner hints there could be new parts coming for Red Bull in Barcelona next weekend, with the circuit a traditional venue for upgrades and the race marking the start of a triple-header amid five rounds in six weeks.

“It’s all about iterations and of course you have to look very carefully where you bring your upgrades in through the year,” he said. “We’re close to the top of the curve, so you get into a law of diminishing returns, but there will be subtle upgrades over the summer months… It’s a ‘possible.'”

Story originally appeared on Racer