Horner: “It’s unsustainable to not be scoring points” as Pérez’s rut of F1 form leaves Red Bull vulnerable in the championship

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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The last few races have not been kind for Sergio Pérez’s side of the garage, and Red Bull has been feeling the heat as their rivals inched closer in every race.

The Mexican has only scored 15 points since May’s Miami Grand Prix which was six rounds ago, while teammate Max Verstappen has managed to score 119 points within the same period.

Pérez failed to score any points in the British Grand Prix after a catastrophic Q1 session that saw the 34-year-old beached his RB20 at the Copse corner, ending his hopes to progress to Q2. Red Bull fitted him with new engine components, which resulted in a pit lane start.

The Mexican driver had worked his way up to P15 in the dry conditions early on. However, a bad call on pitting way too early like Charles Leclerc took him out of contention for any points, finishing 17th.

Initially, Red Bull had been very hopeful that Pérez would recapture his form and return to fighting for podium places. But with their rivals McLaren and Mercedes having the upper hand in recent rounds, it is clear that their patience has begun to wear thin.

Despite being contracted to drive for the Milton Keynes-based outfit until the 2026 season, Red Bull could nullify the contract and drop him as soon as the summer break arrives if the Mexican failed to impress the team in the upcoming events.

It is reported that Pérez’s contract included a clause that granted Red Bull the legal right to show him the door should he fall behind Verstappen by more than 100 points at critical phases of the championship — the summer break and at the end of the season.

As things stand, he is currently behind Verstappen by 137 points, and it would take a monumental effort to get under the 100-point threshold at the upcoming Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix. Red Bull would start to look at suitable candidates should Pérez unable to turn things around by then.

Speaking after Sunday’s race, team boss Christian Horner remained hopeful and hopes his struggling driver will get back on form very soon.

“He knows it’s unsustainable to not be scoring points. We have to be scoring points in that car and he knows that. He knows his role and his target, so nobody is more eager than Checo to find his form again.”

The Red Bull team principal was seen shaking his head on the pit wall when Pérez beached himself in the gravel at Copse on Saturday. Horner conceded how frustrating it was.

“Of course there’s frustration when both of your cars aren’t performing collectively. I think it’s frustrating to lose Checo in Q1 yesterday.

“He’d missed P1 because of Isack Hadjar driving. He’d had a decent P2. We felt that he should have been around the top six and then to lose that car in Q1 was very frustrating.

“So yeah, that’s where we’re at.”

Regarding how to handle drivers in tough situations, Horner got directly to the point.

“Some drivers need an arm around the shoulder, some need a kick up the arse and sometimes it varies from week to week.”

Red Bull held a 113-point lead over McLaren after the Miami Grand Prix. However, the Woking-based team has been chipping away at that since then, reducing it to 78 following Sunday’s race.

Horner is acutely aware of the danger McLaren is posing as Pérez continues to struggle.

“They have, they took seven points out of us today. And it’s something that we’re acutely aware of that to win the Constructors’ Championship you need both cars scoring.”

RB’s Daniel Ricciardo remains the talk of the town for the second Red Bull seat if they decide to shop for an alternative. However, question marks remain over the 8-time race winner’s regarding his consistency as he had a tough weekend at the British GP.

Another possibility for Red Bull is their reserve driver, Liam Lawson, with the New Zealander scheduled to drive the RB20 for a filming day in Silverstone later this week.

Last year, the 22-year-old impressed the Red Bull management after substituting for the injured Ricciardo, which included his first points finish in Singapore with a P9.

Horner downplayed the upcoming run for Lawson, with the boss labeling it as a long-planned test. But with Pérez’s slump in form, it would be hard not to assume that Red Bull would be monitoring how their reserve driver fares in a car that Pérez has struggled massively with.

Horner’s next statement would be cryptic, where he acknowledged Pérez’s situation but did not confirm the team’s following steps.

“The Liam aero run has been planned for a couple of months now and for Checo, of course, he’s under pressure. That’s normal in Formula 1.

“And when you’re under-delivering, that pressure only mounts. He’s aware of that, he knows that, and this weekend nothing has gone his way.”

After the completion of the British Grand Prix, Pérez currently sits in sixth in the World Drivers’ Championship with 118 points. He is only 7 points ahead of George Russell below, and 8 in front of Lewis Hamilton.

In the World Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull remains at the top. Ferrari is 71 points behind, with McLaren a further seven points back.