Sergio Perez

F1 News: Choosing Perez over Sainz Jr. ‘logical’ for Red Bull

(GMM) It was “logical” for Red Bull to ink a new Formula 1 deal with Sergio Perez, according to a former grand prix driver.

The seat alongside Max Verstappen was obviously one of the most coveted on the entire F1 grid, and Mexican Perez, 34, has often struggled to get close to the triple world champion.

And in the announcement of what the team is calling a “two-year extension to his existing contract”, even team boss Christian Horner acknowledges that the “past few races have been tough” for Perez.

“But we are confident in Checo and look forward to his return to proven form and performance, that we so often see,” he said.

Given his looming Ferrari exit, Carlos Sainz Jr. was clearly looking into replacing Perez for 2025 – and it’s still believed that he may accept a one-season Williams stint next year to keep his Red Bull and Mercedes options open for 2026.

But former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde has no doubt about why Red Bull opted instead for Perez.

“Sainz would have never worked there,” he told the DRS De Race Show podcast. “Then you’d get cocky behavior between him and Verstappen and that just doesn’t work.

“Right now they have Max as the first driver, the best driver, and Perez is number 2. Because of that hierarchy, it is quiet between them at Red Bull.

“As the second driver, he (Perez) can still win a few races, finish second or third in the championship, and your market value remains good,” van der Garde added.

“So it’s a logical choice. We knew this was coming. He’s just a super-good second driver. He did not perform the best in the past few races, but who else were they going to take to put next to Verstappen?”

Van der Garde also thinks Red Bull will have factored commercial considerations into its decision, with multiple Mexican sponsors already on the car.

“You can’t forget that he is super popular in Mexico,” said the former Caterham F1 driver. “He is very interesting for Red Bull for the energy drink sales market there.

“It’s a consideration that is always there.”

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