Horner on qualifying form of Perez: “He just needs to break it now – he’ll do it in Budapest”

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Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

With the midway point of the Formula One season just weeks away, Sergio Perez will surely be hoping to recapture the early season form which saw the Mexican driver claim two victories from the first five races. Unfortunately, the last five grands prix have seen Perez fail to qualify for Q3 on each of those occasions. Despite this, Oracle Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner is convinced that Perez will break this run in just under a fortnight when the pinnacle of motorsport arrives in Hungary.


There was of course a time in the 2023 F1 season when Sergio Perez was just 14 points behind current F1 Drivers’ Champion Max Verstappen. However, that is now a distant memory. After a sixth successive win (and his eighth of the season so far) Max Verstappen is now 99 points ahead of his under-pressure teammate.


Pressure that is surely coming from Perez as well as the F1 fanbase and some sections of media. This is before even considering the hype and speculation that will follow now that Daniel Ricciardo’s AlphaTauri loan has been announced today. Nevertheless, Team Principal Christian Horner is in no doubt that his driver will turn things around sooner rather than later – as shown in his comments on the ground to media this past weekend in Silverstone.


The question was posed to Christian Horner as to how concerned he is by the fact that Perez has been out in Q1 the last 5 grands prix and as a result had to charge through the field yet again. 


“He just needs to break it now – he’ll do it in Budapest, I’m confident. Because the way he races, some of his moves in the race, in particular the one on Carlos Sainz was quite stunning into Stowe and if you look at his pace in the last stint he was right there. So, you know, it’s frustrating for him that he’s having to fight back all the time, but he’s just got to sort his qualifying out on Saturday and you know as a team we’ll do our best to support him on that,” explained Horner.


This vote of confidence will surely do Sergio Perez the world of good.

Mindset matters just as much as ability and Christian Horner explained this as well as how he feels his driver is best motivated.

“It’s just one of those things that, as in sport – all sport – 90% of it’s in the head and I think that he just needs a good run and and he’ll find his momentum again,” said Horner.

The man leading Red Bull Racing’s current charge was also quick to highlight the impact Perez’ own charge through the field to P6 had.


“He’s still running second in the championship I think he’s extended his lead over Fernando today so you know we’ve got a good car, but we need to make sure that we’ve got both cars in contention.

“I think he is the type of guy that just needs an arm around his shoulder. You work with him and that’s what we’re doing, we’re supporting him, we know he can do it, we know he’ll get back there, and we are just trying to make sure it happens as quickly as possible,”

With such a dominant car in the F1 field, Christian Horner was also asked if he was feeling frustrated to not have had more dominant weekends from both of his drivers.


“We had 1-2 in the Sprint race last week at 1-3 in the Grand Prix. You are always looking for perfection in this business, you’re always looking for ‘where can we be better”’ So, of course you know we’re always trying to say OK, where can we be better? So, you know, in this instance it’s like OK where can we help Checo to achieve what he’s doing on Sundays on Saturday?” stated Horner.


It is a fact that Sergio Perez is currently being well beaten by his teammate (and two-time F1 Drivers’ Champion) Max Verstappen. Unfortunately, that will mean many column inches will surely be written speculating whether he will retain his seat in 2024. Perez is obviously contracted to be with Red Bull Racing but Daniel Ricciardo’s situation at McLaren last season is a timely reminder that contracts are not always concrete.


However, a driver can find form just as quickly as they can lose form and the man in charge of doing so is of course Sergio Perez. He has a race winning car; is a proven race winner and most importantly – as shown in his own words in Silverstone – is not lacking any confidence.

“I’m still second in the championship and I have full belief that I can turn around my season and get back to the level I should be. I’m already in the simulator [on Monday], we have some ideas of where to work on and I’m confident that we will be able to go through it,” Sergio Perez.

Sergio Perez is a man who should not be counted out and his F1 track record shows he thrives in the face of adversity. So, Checo, over to you.