Sergio Perez’s enduring slump in Formula 1 has everyone questioning the Mexican’s near-term future with Red Bull, but Martin Brundle believes commercial reasons are keeping Perez afloat.

After a strong start to his 2024 campaign, Perez has struggled to deliver significant points to his team and failed to finish higher than seventh in the last six races.

The Mexican now sits a whopping 137 points behind his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen in F1’s Drivers’ standings, a deficit that reportedly could allow Red Bull to active a performance clause in the Mexican’s contract and dispense with his services.

After last weekend’s British Grand Prix, which Perez finished a lowly P17, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admitted that the 34-year-old’s shortfall and points deficit were “unsustainable”.

But despite Perez’s dismal results, Brundle has offered his own theory on why Red Bull might be unlikely to cut its losses and replace the Mexican anytime soon.

“We know that it’s commercially attractive to them, we know that he’s a good foil for Max,” Brundle argued on the Sky Sports F1 podcast.

“He’s normally fast enough to do a good job and bring some relevant information – not fast enough to bother Max, particularly – and it works for them, and they have won both championships.

“But all of a sudden, they’ve got some rivals on their hands, and they can’t comfortably win the constructors’ title without Sergio being on tip-top form.”

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With increased competition from its direct rivals – McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari, Red Bull needs both drivers firing on all cylinders to secure the Constructors’ Championship once again.

Brundle acknowledges this shift and suggests a potential tipping point.

“So the ground rules have changed in that respect and you wonder how long they will be able to cope with this,” he added.

“But with the sponsorship, with Red Bull’s commerciality in North and South America, with the Mexican Grand Prix yet to come, would you really not want Sergio Perez on the grid? So that’s the balancing point.”


Brundle reckons that if pure performance was the only determining factor, Perez would likely be replaced.

“If he was ‘Driver B’ and none of that nationality or commerciality mattered, they would have replaced him – let’s be honest,” he said.

Should Perez nevertheless be dropped, Brundle suggests Red Bull reserve driver Liam Lawson might be the frontrunner to take his place.

However, the former F1 driver cautions that going with an inexperienced driver could be risky.

“It’s a tough one. The trouble is for a young driver, Verstappen just breaks their head because he’s so fast and he can handle a car that’s a little bit lively in a high-speed corner,” he explained.

“You would say that Ricciardo’s head is in the right place to actually not be battered again by Max, but I think that’s happened to Sergio and his head should be in the right place as well. We sense Daniel is under pressure for his seat let alone being rewarded moving up to the top team.

“Their F2 boys won’t be ready for it. I think I’d put Lawson in it if they are going to put anybody in it and see what he could do and try and manage his head down on it. He seems quite strong.”

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