Jun.11 (GMM) Two former Formula 1 winners have hit out at Red Bull for re-signing Sergio Perez for 2025 and perhaps beyond.

The team announced that the Mexican’s new deal is for two years, but consultant Dr Helmut Marko has already admitted that the deal includes certain “clauses”.

“Perez still has to perform in the next two years,” said Yuki Tsunoda, who has also been retained by Red Bull to continue racing for the junior team RB in 2025.

“Anything can happen in these kinds of circumstances,” the Japanese added.

Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner doesn’t seem to deny that Perez’s deal is not necessarily for two guaranteed years, but a one-year deal with a one-year option for 2026.

“Well, one plus one is two,” he smiled. “So it’s a two year deal.

“As in any contract, there are all kinds of things in there, but of course this is an internal matter for the driver and the team,” Horner added.

Horner admits that Perez’s new contract comes amid a sequence of “terrible” races for the 34-year-old. 1998 and 1999 world champion Mika Hakkinen thinks it’s “amazing” that in that context, Red Bull re-signed the Mexican.

“It’s just a fact that when you compare him with his teammate, the difference is simply too big,” the Finn told the Viaplay broadcaster.

“And now they sign a two-year extension with a driver who can’t keep up with the pace at all. It’s amazing.”

Hakkinen’s F1 contemporary Ralf Schumacher agrees that a ‘number 2’ driver for Max Verstappen is a wise choice, but he thinks Perez has not even done enough to fulfil that supportive role.

“Red Bull needs a number 2 to cover for the number 1,” he said. “One who is a real support.

“But Canada was just one more in a long list of mistakes for Perez.”

McLaren’s Lando Norris, and even Verstappen himself, think Red Bull is effectively a one-driver team at the moment.

“At the end of the day,” Norris said, “I think two (drivers) is going to be better than one, in Max’s case.”

Verstappen also quipped: “Of course, naturally, we always want the two cars to be up there. We just need to work on our car to make it a bit easier to drive, to feel a bit more comfortable.

“Then I’m sure that we will have both cars back up there like we had in the beginning of the season.”

Red Bull advisor Marko thinks a saving grace for the team at the moment is that championship leader Verstappen is being pressed by multiple rivals who are all taking points off one another.

“We hope that the competition behind us will keep doing that and the second strongest force will keep changing race by race,” he told Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

“That will make things a little more comfortable for us in terms of the world championship.”