Sergio Perez has just signed a contract extension with Red Bull until the end of 2024, all after winning the Monaco Grand Prix and falling within 15 points of teammate Max Verstappen in the championship. The Austrian team had been thinking about this extension for a while already, according to Helmut Marko.
The consultant thus returned to the reasons which prompted the reigning champion team of pilots to extend the adventure with the Mexican for two additional years.
“The contract was not put in place in a day,” explained Marko to Formel 1.
« In Julian Jakobi, Perez has one of the most committed managers and he joined our discussions. The new contract is the result of the fact that thanks to these new cars, Perez is now much closer to Verstappen. sometimes only one or two tenths of a second between them. »
« It’s clear that as a team we also want to win the constructors’ championship. From a financial point of view, most of our employees will get a bonus if we win this title, and for that you need the best pilot duo. »
Red Bull did not use a team locker in Spain
Helmut Marko also returned to the Barcelona episode, where Sergio Perez was forced to let Max Verstappen pass in the race, when the Dutchman was hampered by DRS problems and was evolving on a different strategy.
« He won in Monaco, didn’t he? » Marko replies when asked if Perez was allowed to beat his teammate this year.
« In Spain, Max’s strategy was changed because his DRS wasn’t working. It created a whole new situation compared to Perez, who was on a two-stop strategy. Verstappen quickly caught up with Checo who had no luck with his strategy. »
“We then told Perez to step aside as soon as possible because he was on a different strategy. It was important that it was done quickly, not like in the days of Hamilton and Bottas (at Mercedes F1), where they sometimes stuck for an entire lap. »
« I don’t think it’s a team order. »
Objective: Beat Ferrari!
For Marko, the objective now is to beat Scuderia Ferrari with this duo, which has a very good single-seater, perhaps faster than the RB18 with its upgrades.
« We have circuits where we are strongest, but also some where Ferrari are strongest. Thank goodness, on the two circuits where Ferrari usually had the strongest car, in Barcelona and Monaco, we were able to win. «
“We are optimistic for Baku and Montreal, where the straights are longer again and our top speed comes to the rescue. minimum weight according to my sources. So shape of the day, set-up, tire wear and keeping the tires in the ideal working window will be crucial. »