Former Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher has ignited a firestorm in the motorsport world with his recent comments, suggesting a growing schism between Red Bull Racing drivers Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen. This division, he claims, could ultimately lead to the premature termination of Perez’s contract by the end of the current season.
Schumacher’s controversial statements point to the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix as the epicenter of this alleged discord. According to him, Perez’s actions during the race raised eyebrows, as he purportedly orchestrated a deliberate crash into the barriers to trigger a red flag situation. This tactical maneuver was believed to be an attempt to secure a more advantageous starting position compared to his teammate, Max Verstappen. However, Verstappen wasn’t about to let this incident pass without notice.
The former driver emphasizes that it’s essential to take into account the performance gap that exists between the two drivers who share the same car. Max Verstappen, he argues, consistently extracts the maximum potential from the RB19, while Sergio Perez lags far behind in the Drivers’ Standings. This performance differential has raised questions and added to the brewing tension between the Red Bull teammates.
“It seems that the relationship between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez is no longer what it used to be.
“I mean, there was a time, I remember that legendary race, [Abu Dhabi 2021], where he could still win the championship due to external circumstances. Perez did a great job there.
“But then there was apparently this incident where Perez apparently ‘intentionally,’ or at least that’s what we hear, caused a red flag in Monaco. I think Max didn’t take that well, whatever happened there.”
Schumacher further underscores the financial implications of Perez’s on-track mishaps. Citing a Reddit user’s data, he reveals that Perez has incurred a staggering $2.109 million in crash damage costs for Red Bull Racing this season alone. This places the Mexican driver third on the list of individuals responsible for the most expensive crash damages in 2023, up to the Japanese Grand Prix.
“When you see the difference between both drivers, what Max gets out of the Red Bull compared to what Perez achieves…”
In a straightforward and candid manner, Schumacher suggests that one doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to recognize the brewing storm within the Red Bull Racing team. He asserts that the financial burden and the growing performance disparity may inevitably lead to the team parting ways with Sergio Perez, making it a matter of when rather than if.
“Recently, the list of damages came out, how expensive the year has already been for Perez this year. Then, I think you don’t have to be a scientist to realise that the collaboration will end.”