‘Almost everything’ points at new Perez deal

'Almost everything' points at

A contract extension for Sergio Perez is appearing more and more likely.

His current deal expires at the end of 2024, and at a very awkward time for the 34-year-old Mexican – just as on-form Ferrari refugee Carlos Sainz is also on the move.

But Perez has, so far in 2024, suddenly taken a big step closer to Red Bull Racing teammate Max Verstappen’s pace.

“Probably because he’s out of contract!” laughed team boss Christian Horner in Shanghai. “No – I think he’s worked hard over the winter, perhaps with a slight change to his approach to the weekends.”

Indeed, Perez openly admits that his car setups are much closer to Verstappen’s in 2024. “Like Carlos would say,” he smiled, “we stopped inventing.”

It appears that the biggest sticking-point between Red Bull and a signed 2025 contract for Perez is his admitted push for more than a single-year deal.

In terms of “performance and the harmony”, the team seems unlikely to upset its currently dominant situation.

“Checo’s second place proves that this year is his strongest season to date,” Dr Helmut Marko told Servus TV after qualifying in Shanghai.

“That is of course very important for the future.”

However, Marko is not hiding that Sainz is also being considered.

“Of course,” he said. “You always want to have the best people in the team. But with Checo’s performance and the harmony, it’s just right.

“The two of them get along well and are relatively similar now in terms of setup, which of course makes all the technical work easier because the data is comparable,” Red Bull’s 80-year-old Austrian advisor added.

“So at the moment, a lot or almost everything speaks in Checo’s favour.”

According to boss Horner, however, Red Bull is not rushing to sign on the dotted line.

“Not very,” he said in China when asked how close Red Bull is to making a decision. “We’re in a situation where we’re very happy with our two drivers, but we don’t need to make a final decision until much later in the year.”

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