What Sergio Perez's New Deal with Red Bull Means to Rest of F1 Grid

oracle red bull racing's mexican driver sergio perez
What Sergio Perez's New Deal Means to F1 GridSOPA Images - Getty Images
  • Sergio Perez has scored five of his six career Formula 1 victories with Red Bull.

  • The new deal with Red Bull will keep Perez on board for 2025 and 2026 after signing a two-year extension.

  • Perez made a decent start in 2024 but results have tailed off in recent events.

Reigning Formula 1 World Champions Red Bull Racing have committed to Sergio Perez through the 2026 season.

Perez made his Formula 1 debut in 2011 for Sauber, before an unsuccessful spell at McLaren in 2013, after which he spent seven seasons competing for Force India/Racing Point.

Perez, 34, joined Red Bull in 2021 as team-mate to Max Verstappen, and in mid-2022 signed a two-year deal to cover 2023 and 2024.


Verstappen has won the world title in each season with Perez as his teammate.

Perez, who has scored five of his six career victories with Red Bull, will now stay on for 2025 and 2026 after signing a two-year extension.

“I am really happy to commit my future to this great team, it is a challenge like no other racing for Red Bull Racing, both on track and off track,” Perez said. “I am delighted to be staying here to continue our journey together and contribute to this team’s great history for two more years.

“Being part of the team is an immense challenge, and one I love. We have a great challenge this year and I have full trust in the whole team that the future is bright here and I am excited to be part of it. I want to thank everyone for all the trust they are putting in me, it is a lot and I want to pay it back with excellent results on track, and off track. I think we have a lot of work to do, we have a lot more championships to win together.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner explained the reasoning behind keeping Perez.

“Continuity and stability are important for the team and both Checo and Max are a successful and robust partnership, securing our first ever 1-2 finish for the team in the championship last year,” Horner said.

“Checo has had a strong start to 2024 with second places in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Japan and then his podium in China. The past few races have been tough, there is convergence on the grid, but we are confident in Checo and look forward to his return to proven form and performance, that we so often see.”

f1 grand prix of monaco
Sergio Perez is fifth in the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship standings.NurPhoto - Getty Images

The Safe – Maybe Too Safe – Option

There have been a couple of flashpoints in their three-and-a-bit years together but Perez has largely been an apolitical figure at Red Bull, primarily because he is just not as fast as Verstappen.

Famously Perez played a key role in the 2021 title decider in Abu Dhabi, holding up Lewis Hamilton, prompting Verstappen to exclaim “Checo is a legend.”

Red Bull is not looking for someone to threaten Verstappen, more so a driver who can be within a few tenths of the reigning champion, and initially Perez was a far stronger stablemate than predecessors Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon.

Perez finished third in the 2022 Drivers’ championship, and runner-up in 2023, both years in which Red Bull won the Constructors’ Championship.

But there have been setbacks.

Perez has never been the best qualifier, and a spate of poor events through 2023 led to questions over his position, with his championship classification owing much to Red Bull’s supremacy as well as rivals all taking points off each other.

Perez made a decent start in 2024 but results have tailed off in recent events, triggered by poor qualifying displays, with a Q2 exit at Imola, and Q1 elimination in Monaco.

Those moments will be keener felt now that Red Bull is facing sustained pressure from multiple rivals for the first time in the current regulatory cycle.

Ferrari and McLaren have re-emerged as a renewed force and both have strong lineups in the shape of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, and Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri. Even Mercedes, struggling by its lofty standards, had both cars in front of Perez at Imola.

He has slipped to fifth in the standings—currently led by Verstappen—while Red Bull’s lead over Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship standings is a slender 24 points.

Red Bull has opted for a known quantity—it is fully aware by now of Perez’s peaks and his limitations given he is a veteran of 265 races—so it must hope it can extract the best from the Mexican and mitigate losses on his off-days.

f1 grand prix of monaco 2024
Sergio Perez’s signing quiets the Daniel Riccardo rumors about a possible move back to Red Bull.NurPhoto - Getty Images

The Impact on Others

Red Bull’s drivers tend to exist in their own sphere separate from the remainder of the grid, but there are knock-on effects.

Of course, the biggest of these is on the Red Bull-owned RB team.

Since his mid-2023 return to Formula 1 Daniel Ricciardo has outlined his ambition to return to Red Bull, and to the seat he vacated after 2018 to seek a fresh start.

There have been flashes of speed—seventh in Mexico last year, fourth in Miami’s Sprint Race this year—but Ricciardo’s comeback has been underwhelming. He has yet to finish in the top 10 of a grand prix this season.

The narrative in recent months has shifted from Ricciardo chasing a Red Bull seat to merely retaining the one he holds at RB.

yuki tsunoda of racing bulls looks on during the f1 grand
Yuki Tsunoda was another driver with eyes on a possible promotion to Red Bull.Marco Canoniero - Getty Images

Yuki Tsunoda has taken five top 10 results this season and has comfortably been the stronger of RB’s lineup, but Red Bull have once again overlooked him for a promotion.

Tsunoda has support from Red Bull’s current power unit partner Honda, which will shift allegiance to Aston Martin from 2026, but the team recently recommitted to Fernando Alonso, while Lance Stroll’s position is secure owing to his father’s ownership of the team.

Tsunoda also sees a Red Bull seat as an ambition but has recently been more receptive to the notion of a seat outside of the energy drink’s umbrella.

There is also the presence of reserve driver Liam Lawson.

Lawson impressed during his five stand-in appearances in 2023 but was overlooked for 2024, instructed to bide his time, meaning RB faces a similar call on its drivers for 2025, and someone will be left disappointed.

Perez’s retention also closes off one potential avenue for outgoing Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, who was always a long shot for the seat, meaning Mercedes is the only big team with a vacancy. But that is increasingly expected to go to protégé Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who tested Mercedes’ 2022 car at Silverstone last week and this week is running the same car in Barcelona.

Sainz is being pursued by Sauber, which in 2026 will morph into Audi’s works team, while Williams is also interested in the 29-year-old Spaniard.

Esteban Ocon, who will leave Alpine at the end of 2024, is understood to be another candidate for Sauber/Audi.