Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing’s prominent Formula 1 driver, has recently stirred the waters of the racing community with a powerful proclamation: “I’m not here to finish second.” This statement not only echoes his burning ambition to be on top but also reflects the challenges and determination the Mexican sensation holds for the remaining races of 2023.
Perez, piloting the same RB19 car as the formidable championship leader, Max Verstappen, has faced a barrage of critiques. Many of these criticisms revolve around his perceived inability to match the speed and prowess of Verstappen. This, inevitably, has birthed myriad speculations suggesting that Red Bull might be seeking a new candidate to replace Perez by 2024 or, at the very least, by the expiration of his contract the following year.
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However, the management of Red Bull Racing has staunchly put these rumours to rest. Both Christian Horner, the team principal, and the motorsport advisor, Helmut Marko, have publicly endorsed Perez. They’ve emphasized that Perez’s role is clearly delineated: to secure the second spot and, in situations where Verstappen doesn’t clinch the top position, to go for gold.
In a recent tête-à-tête with Motorsport.Nextgen-Auto, Perez took the opportunity to clarify his objectives for 2023. His goals? In his own words: “Victories!” He passionately affirmed, “I am not here to finish second. I’d rather be at home doing something else if that’s all I was aiming for. I am here because I know I can do it — and I’ve done it before.”
Not stopping at that, Perez addressed his detractors head-on, reminding them of the intricate nuances and minutiae that racers grapple with behind the scenes. Drawing a parallel to the struggles of fellow racer Daniel Ricciardo, he pointed out, “People commenting from their couches forget how much we’re dealing with the small details. You’ve seen it with other drivers in their teams; it happened for Daniel too. He came back to us, and the team managed to give him the right tools again.”
As the F1 community anticipates the end of the summer break, all eyes are set on the Dutch Grand Prix scheduled between 25th and 27th August. With Perez’s renewed commitment, fans worldwide are eagerly waiting to see how the races will unfold.