Red Bull team boss Christian Horner assessed Martin Brundle’s question on whether he wished he had not yet re-signed Sergio Perez as “brutally hard”, as Daniel Ricciardo swap speculation swirls.

Perez has suffered an alarming slump in form over the last five rounds, which has included no higher than a P7 finish and a pair of DNFs, with Perez sat P5 in the Drivers’ standings and looking over his shoulder at the lurking Oscar Piastri and George Russell.

Christian Horner tackles ‘brutally hard’ Sergio Perez question

Nonetheless, ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, Perez put pen to paper on a new multi-year Red Bull contract, but rumours emerged in German publication Auto Motor und Sport on Friday that the prospect of a Ricciardo/Perez swap has recently been revisited. understands that performance clauses exist for both drivers which open the door for changes to be made if wanted, while it has been suggested to, by sources close to the situation, that Ricciardo’s recent upturn in form, following a difficult start to the F1 2024 campaign at junior team VCARB, has pleased Horner.

Horner was quizzed by Sky F1 on Perez’s form ahead of the British Grand Prix, Horner calling it a “brutally hard question” when ex-racer turned pundit Brundle asked if the Red Bull boss wished he had not handed out that new contract to Perez so soon?

“That’s a brutally hard question, Martin,” said Horner.

“But, of course, you know, at the point that you sign a driver, the contents of any agreement are not going to be disclosed to all of you lot.

“So it made absolute sense to sign Checo at that point in time, but you know, this is a business in which there are pressures to deliver.

“Obviously, Sergio has had a had a tough spell and his first five races were very competitive. The last five have been nowhere.

“And we want to see the Sergio from the first five back. He knows that, he’s aware of that. He’s been working hard on that. He’s been in the sim this week and working hard to understand where it’s just not playing out for him.

“But what we’ve constantly seen with him is this resilience to be able to bounce back and we’re hoping to see that very soon.”

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Pointed out that this Perez slump mirrors his drop in form during 2023 after a strong start, Horner said Red Bull had hoped that giving Perez this new deal would have avoided a repeat.

“Well that’s why we thought the contract would help,” said Horner, “but I think it’s something that Checo is working very hard on.

“And he knows this is a sport where there’s no hiding, particularly with Max Verstappen as your team-mate. He knows he’s being measured against the very best and we need him up there supporting Max because there’s two McLarens now, there’s two Ferraris, there’s two Mercedes and we need there to be desperately two Red Bulls.”

Red Bull hold a 64-point lead over Ferrari at the top of the Constructors’ Championship.

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