(GMM) Rumors that Red Bull dump Sergio Perez and replace him with Fernando Alonso continue to circulate in Formula 1.
The dominant Formula 1 team, however, already had a contract extension with the Mexican prior to his mid-season 2023 slump, and top officials have played down the rampant rumors suggesting the deal will be nixed.
But German racing legend Hans-Joachim Stuck thinks 33-year-old Perez should be dumped – especially after he was beaten to the podium in Brazil after a wheel-to-wheel battle with Fernando Alonso.
“Alonso found a much faster line,” Stuck told Eurosport. “Perez didn’t copy it. Is he stupid? Is he blind?
“With all his skills, he’s really not worth the money.”
Aston Martin’s Alonso and Red Bull rejected wild rumors that the two-time champion might replace Perez for 2024, but Stuck thinks a potential deal might still be alive.
“The way Alonso drives and competes is largely flawless and it moves a team forward,” former F1 driver Stuck, 72, said.
“I think he would be very, very close to Verstappen. I’m convinced of that. Closer than Perez in any case – for me that is beyond dispute.
“There are only a few people I trust who could drive at Verstappen’s level. Alonso is 100 percent one of them.”
As for the recent Alonso-to-Red Bull rumors, Stuck added: “The rumors are there. And I think it would be great if Alonso was put in that car.
“He denies it completely, but there may be something to it. We know each other really well. He has the motivation and he still enjoys it.
“He also has the maturity to use his skills in exactly the right way.”
And according to another former F1 driver, Timo Glock, two other candidates would also be good alternatives for the struggling Perez.
“I’d like to see Nico Hulkenberg in a team that gives him a chance for points or even a podium,” he told WSM Casino. “It would also be great to see what Alexander Albon could do in one of the top teams.
“It would be interesting to see one of those guys compete against Verstappen so we can see what they could do.”
As the door to Red Bull appears closed for now, though, Glock thinks another top seat could open up shortly – the one currently occupied by Charles Leclerc.
“He will certainly be asking himself whether he can ever have a real chance of fighting for the world championship crown with Ferrari,” he said.
“Either the package isn’t quite right or there are too many mistakes in the team,” Glock added. “Next year will be very important for Charles in terms of his future.”