SERGIO PEREZ proved to be the toast of the Red Bull party following his win in Monaco – but he could end up causing boss Christian Horner another headache.
The Mexican, who joined the team for the 2021, is fishing for a new contract as his current two-year deal expires at the end of this season.
Sergio Perez’s Monaco win has put him in line for a new Red Bull dealCredit: Rex
It remains to be seen if Max Verstappen enjoys having a rival on the same teamCredit: Getty
After his victory yesterday, Perez, 32, was quizzed by reporters as to how close he was to agreeing new terms to which his teammate, Max Verstappen, replied with a joke saying “I think what you did today might help. Just a little bit.”
There was a follow up question which pointed out that there was now a 15 point gap between championship leader Verstappen and his teammate and how that would change the dynamic.
Both drivers brushed it off with Perez saying: “We are still going to be in love, right?”
Verstappen replied: “Yeah, absolutely. Why would that change? We work really well as a team.
“We always try to optimise the car and work for the team and we can accept when somebody does a good job or does a better job.
“That’s very important because that’s how you are respectful to each other and may the best man win at the end, right?”
Only that’s not how it works, is it, Max?
Since he made it to F1 in 2015 I don’t think “respectful” is a word to describe the way he – and Red Bull – have chewed up and spat out his teammates.
Look at Carlos Sainz, Daniil Kyvat, Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon, whose Red Bull careers were blighted by the Dutchman.
However, he faces an altogether different prospect in Perez, now the steely Mexican is up to speed, particularly if Horner is true to his word when he says both his drivers “have got the same chance” of winning the title.
Verstappen is clearly the darling of Red Bull, look at his £37million a year five year contract he signed earlier in March – on top of his existing two year deal.
But how would it change the dynamic to see Perez take his F1 crown? We only need to look back as far as Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel’s time with the team to see that Red Bull struggle to cope with two roosters in the henhouse.
And Verstappen is much more of an angry young man than Vettel ever was during his peak.
So while Horner might champion Perez’s form into offering him a contract for next season, it could prove to be incredibly hard to manage – especially if he’s nicked Verstappen’s crown.
F1 fans still have 90 years of the FIA to endureCredit: Alamy
THE bungling by the FIA stewards last Sunday has only put more strain on the governing body’s deteriorating relationship with the sport.
F1’s owner’s Liberty Media are already dismayed by the FIA’s handling of their own investigation into last year’s Abu Dhabi GP and the actions of Michael Masi.
Plus their reluctance to find a compromise over this ridiculous ‘bling ban’ and the FIA President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s failure to approve more sprint races.
The sport clearly needs to speed up and improve the decision making process – waiting almost four hours after the race finished to find out if Perez kept his win is nothing short of a farce.
It just feels that while Liberty and the teams all want to race at full speed to promote the sport and try new races, the FIA are acting like a handbrake.
However, the reality is, there is not too much anyone can do about it.
Former F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone agreed a 113-year deal with then FIA President Max Mosely of which 90 years remain.
So unless Liberty Media and the teams start a new series, under a different name, then unfortunately they are going to have to stick with the same governing body.
The Monaco GP could be on the way out of the F1 schedule for goodCredit: Splash
MONACO TO GO?
THE F1 calendar is brutal and as soon as the chequered flag fell in Monte Carlo, for many the thoughts switched immediately to the next race in Azerbaijan.
Rarely is there time for reflection, but upon leaving the principality it dawned on me that as it stands, there is no place on the 2023 calendar for the Monaco GP.
Could this rain-delayed procession be the last ever F1 Monaco GP?
I truly hope not, but after a weekend of poor organisation and racing, maybe it could do with a rest.
Mick Schumacher is being tipped to join Aston Martin next seasonCredit: The Mega Agency
SCHU ON OTHER FOOT
INTERESTING to see Michael and Mick Schumacher’s long-time PR Sabine Khem spending some time in the Aston Martin motorhome in Monaco.
That has cranked the rumour mill into operation that Mick will replace Sebastian Vettel at the end of the season at Aston, should the four-time world champion retire.
Schumacher is currently at Haas but part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, so would need to cut ties with the Italian company if he is to make the switch.
More to the point, would Aston really want him? He’s being shown up at Haas by Kevin Magnussen.
I will leave you with a quote from team boss Guenther Steiner, who said after Schumacher’s latest £1million-crash: “It’s not very satisfactory having a big crash again. We need to see how we move forward from here.”
MotoGP fans may have seen the last of icon Marc MarquezCredit: Getty
MADE HIS MARQ
IS this the end for Marc Marquez? The six-time MotoGP champ announced at the weekend that he was withdrawing from the rest of this season as he will undergo another operation tomorrow.
The Honda rider has been plagued by injuries and setbacks since the first race in 2020.
After a recurring problem with double-vision, his arm surgery – his FOURTH since breaking a bone in Spain two years ago – means he faces another spell off the track.
He has stated his intention to return in 2023 but there surely comes a time when enough is enough and he calls it a day.
Tai Woffinden is finding new inspiration in skydivingCredit: Getty – Contributor
TAI IN THE SKY
BRITISH SPEEDWAY’S most successful track star Tai Woffinden is back in this year’s world championship hunt – thanks to jumping out of a plane.
Woffinden, 31, is now up to fifth place after three rounds following his second-place in the Prague Grand Prix on Saturday.
It came just five days after a skydive he did to get an extra “buzz”.
He said: “I’ve now done something like 27 jumps. I enjoy the process of learning to do something different and you get that buzz from it as well.”