Sep.25 - As Max Verstappen celebrated his return to form and Red Bull celebrated the 2023 constructors' title on Sunday, a new dark cloud gathered over Sergio Pérez.

For Verstappen, following the performance dip in Singapore, Suzuka was his successful return to personal dominance of Formula 1.

"I wanted to give an answer after Singapore," the Dutchman said on Sunday. "I'd been working on it for a week."

But for his Mexican teammate Perez, "It was a very dark day", Red Bull team advisor Dr Helmut Marko said.

One rival unhappy with Perez's driving at Suzuka was Haas' Kevin Magnussen.

"His teammate is cruising towards another title and he is fighting down the back with us," said the Dane.

The clumsy mistakes and penalties were one thing, but also increasingly clear is that with Liam Lawson locked out of a Red Bull-backed Formula 1 cockpit for now, Perez's sheer pace is still a major question mark.

"When you see that Perez is doing with that beautiful car, it's almost criminal," Dutch F1 GP boss and former F1 driver Jan Lammers told NOS.

He suspects that after AlphaTauri announced at Suzuka that Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda will still be on the grid next year, "there is something else going on here".

"I think Perez is really ready for retirement," said Lammers. "I mean, how much fun is this for him?

"What we're seeing is a total lack of drive, motivation, sharpness - everything, really. I think Red Bull could be preparing to put Lawson in that seat."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner acknowledged Perez's "contribution" to the team's early constructors' title win this year - but former team driver Robert Doornbos isn't so sure.

"Max has 400 points alone," he told Ziggo Sport. "That's already more than Mercedes has as a team."

When asked about Perez's contractual status again late on Sunday, Marko said there is clearly a contract in play.

But Doornbos said: "I think Helmut Marko is completely done with Perez.

"He (Perez) has had his good moments, but that was a long time ago. Now he's just causing damaging and making a fool of himself."

Another former F1 driver, Timo Glock, told Sky Deutschland: "Perez no longer has a chance against Verstappen. Little by little, his limits are being shown to him.

"That's why he is so mentally down. Some of the mistakes he is making are incomprehensible given his experience."

Fascinatingly, Marko does not deny that - at the very least - Red Bull is now clearly looking to the future.

"Both Daniel and Checo are over 30. So it depends on what their ideas are, how long do they want to drive? And we have to be prepared for that," he said.

"And that is the case with Lawson."

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9 F1 Fan comments on “Verstappen's Suzuka Triumph Marks His Resurgence, Casting Shadows on Perez?

  1. smokey

    Perez certainly soiled his F1 reputation at Suzuka! Of late he has been very inconsistent with some reasonable results and some very poor results. From wins in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan to 16th at Monaco and all the other results in between, he has clearly failed the team! I mean, he is driving an allegedly identical car to Max, so one would expect he should consistently finish on the podium beside Max. He has been absent in most races!
    It's time for Checko to move on to retirement, and give a young gun a chance to shine. Daniel is on the downhill slide, and has lost the impetus he showed in times past. Lawson appears to have the ability and the mental stamina that is needed to stay with Max. Let's see if he can make the grade! Go the Kiwi!

  2. Blo

    If RB’s main rivals continue to improve they will need two good on form drivers to be sure of winning the WCC, Mer,Fer, MAC have that, as things stand Rb and AM don’t . Surely the chances of Liam sitting out 2024 are zero especially with his close ties with Honda. Expect some big changes for 2024!

    • Blo

      Contract or no I can’t see RB allowing Checko to keep damaging cars at the back of the field least of all the fastest car on the track. Gardening leave coming up!

  3. Blo

    Seems to me the person who has really lost the plot and could do real damage at RB/ AT is Helmet.His driver choices have been catastrophic. He should retire and take DR and Chaco with him.

  4. ReallyOldRacer

    Checo has been more of a help than a hindrance to Rb, and a compliant #2 to VER. He has a growing family & a good rep in Mexico. Likely he will finish contract at Rb and then retire to a happy life as the most accomplished Mexican driver in history. Will he be released before then? Hell no.


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