Perez’s ‘only weak point’ is qualifying – Marko

Apr.2 (GMM) Sergio Perez is closing on a new deal with Red Bull for 2025, according to Dr Helmut Marko.

On the face of it, given Perez’s struggle to keep up with Max Verstappen, and rumours linking Verstappen with the exit door, Red Bull is very much a player in the 2025 driver ‘silly season’.

Melbourne winner and Ferrari refugee Carlos Sainz would seem to be a leading candidate.

“Verstappen is number 1 at Red Bull,” F1 legend Hans-Joachim Stuck told Eurosport Germany, “so perhaps he has a say in who his teammate is.

“If that is the case, I would assume that he is happy with Perez, because he has nothing to worry about.”

There are signs, though, that Verstappen’s current comfortable era at Red Bull is ending. For instance, his long-time chief mechanic Lee Stevenson is leaving the team.

Not just that, Adrian Newey is believed to have been offered a huge-money offer to switch to Aston Martin. That could tie into new rumours that Red Bull’s entire Austrian contingent could drop F1 and leave it to the Thai faction – which may explain the sudden quieting in the Christian Horner affair.

And that, in turn, could mean Marko and even Verstappen could be next to depart.

“I’m flying to Japan,” Marko confirmed to Laola1.

When asked for an update about the management power struggle, the 80-year-old answered: “For the Thai shareholders, everything is clear. Everything is fine for them.

“Whether anything else will come or not, I have no idea. It is a very complex matter that is difficult to understand.”

But what about his own role in F1?: “There are always conversations and discussions,” Marko explained. “My direct supervisor is Oliver Mintzlaff,” he said.

“But right now we have other concerns than what I’m doing.” He says he hardly speaks with Red Bull’s Thai 51 percent owner Chalerm Yoovidhya, adding: “The conversations usually go through the British lawyer Peter Blake-Turner.”

As for Perez, as the situation currently stands, Marko sounds reluctant to install a new teammate alongside Verstappen.

“Sainz’s form is fascinating, of course,” the 80-year-old said. “But you have to understand that Perez did well in all three races this year so far. The fact that he fell behind in Melbourne was due to a damaged floor and tyre degradation.

“His only weak point is his qualifying. If he can improve his results there, we won’t need to think about replacing him. The atmosphere in the team is good and he feels comfortable here.”

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