Christian Horner has hailed Sergio Perez as “a real force to be reckoned with” in the wake of his new Red Bull contract.
The Mexican has been tied down to two more years with the team following his strong start to the season. He already has more than half of the 190 points he secured in his debut year with Red Bull, and moved to within 15 points of Max Verstappen with victory at the Monaco Grand Prix.
A new contract for Perez was announced on Tuesday, meaning he will keep his seat until at least the end of the 2024 season. Team principal Horner used the news as an opportunity to hail the 32-year-old’s performances since joining Red Bull.
“Since joining Oracle Red Bull Racing, Checo has done a fantastic job,” said Horner. “Time and again he has proved himself to not only be a magnificent team player but, as his level of comfort has grown, he has become a real force to be reckoned with at the sharp end of the grid.”
The team boss went on to warn defending champion Verstappen that Perez is capable of challenging him for race wins. “This year he has taken another step and the gap to world champion Max has closed significantly, evidenced by his superb pole position in Jeddah earlier this year and by his wonderful win in Monaco just last weekend,” added Horner.
“For us, holding onto his pace, race craft and experience was a no-brainer and we are delighted that Checo will continue to race for the team until 2024. In partnership with Max we believe we have a driver pairing that can bring us the biggest prizes in F1.”
Perez’s success at Red Bull has so far come where Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon failed. The Mexican has proven that he is capable of scoring big points to help the team’s push for the constructors’ title, and his victory in Monaco also showed that he can win races when Verstappen is not able to.
Two wins so far with the team – one in each season – are not enough for him to become a champion, but his consistency certainly helps. Apart from his DNF in Bahrain, completely beyond his control as a mechanical issue, Perez has finished in the top four at every race this year and stood on the podium on four of those six occasions.
After winning in Monte Carlo and announcing his new deal, Perez spoke of how he has found a “home” with the Milton Keynes constructor. “For me, this has been an incredible week, winning the Monaco Grand Prix is a dream for any driver and then to follow that with announcing I will continue with the team until 2024 just makes me extremely happy,” he said.
“We are working very well together and my relationship with Max, on and off the track, is definitely helping drive us forward even more. We have built tremendous momentum as a team and this season is showing that, I am excited to see where that can take us all in the future.”