Perez’s new contract is a Red Bull mistake. Cheko is no better than those dismissed in front of him
After Sergio Perez doubled the victory in Baku and the podium at “Paul Ricard”, it seemed that Dr. Marco100% right with the Mexican pilot. However, starting with the British Grand Prix, a black streak comes for Perez: not a single finish in points over the course of three races. Nevertheless, the leadership of the “bulls” was not embarrassed by the temporary setbacks of the Mexican, and on the eve of the Belgian Grand Prix, the extension of the agreement with Perez was announced. Cheko marked his new contract not in the best way, crashing the car on the way to the starting grid, and at the last stage in the Netherlands, the Mexican failed the qualification altogether and heroically broke through the whole race from the depths of the peloton. Perez’s failures in the latter stages clearly hint at the haste of Dr. Marco’s decision. It is likely that Red Bull made another personnel mistake.
At first, the signing of Perez looked like a transfer victory for Dr. Marco
Having signed Sergio Perez at the end of last year, the leadership of the “bulls” decided to take a very bold step: for the first time since 2013, the place of a Red Bull combat pilot was given to a racer not from his own system. That is, Perez had nothing to do with either the Taurine Academy or the Toro Rosso / Alpha Tauri team. The very fact of signing the Mexican, of course, contradicted the command philosophy of the “bulls”. But what else was there for Dr. Marco to do? Alex Albon frankly failed the season and a half allotted to him at the Red Bull, and in the camp of the Austrian team the question of the co-pilot was more acute than ever.
In the end, on December 18, 2020, the press service of the bulls officially announced the signing of an agreement with Sergio Perez. It was at that moment that the alliance between Red Bull and the Mexican pilot was seen as quite logical and beneficial for both sides. The main team of “bulls” received a motivated and experienced pilot, who has been making a rustle in the peloton for ten years. Perez, in turn, could finally count on a competitive car, driving which he could compete for the highest places.
At the same time, Sergio was clearly aware of the tasks for which he was invited. “Red Bull” signed Perez clearly not so that the Mexican fought for the title. First of all, Cheko was required to embody stability and constantly be somewhere near Verstappen, so that the captain’s bridge of the “bulls” had the opportunity to use the Mexican in tactical maneuvers of the team. And just with this, Perez will have problems a little later.
Victory in Baku made to forget about failures at the start of the season
From the very beginning of this season it became clear that Mercedes would no longer be able to dominate, as it did last year. Red Bull managed to get close to the pace of the Silver Arrows, which clearly hinted at a fierce title battle between the two giants. Under the new circumstances, the role of the co-pilot in the Austrian team was an even more significant position than last year. At the same time, the Red Bull management understood that Perez needed time to adapt to the new team, and reacted with understanding to the Mexican’s failures in the early stages.
In the debut qualification for the new team, the rookie of the “bulls” could not break into the third segment, showing only the eleventh time. However, as it turns out later, the starting position on the day of the race for Perez, in fact, did not matter. Indeed, during the warm-up lap, the “Red Bull” of the Mexican simply stalled, which meant for Sergio a start from the pit lane. Finding himself in such unenviable conditions, Perez immediately began to demonstrate why he was invited to the Red Bull. The result of the heroic breakthrough for the Mexican was the finish in fifth place – quite a good result for the first race in a new car, especially considering the starting misadventures.
Already at the next stage in Imola Peres managed to do the seemingly impossible, namely to retrain Max Verstappen. However, in the race, the Mexican failed to build on Saturday’s success. After the restart, Sergio was located in fourth position and had to keep Hamilton, who was breaking through to the top, to the maximum . However, Perez could not keep the car on the drying track and went into the gravel, thereby disrupting the plans of the captain’s bridge “Red Bull”.
In the next three Grand Prix, Sergio looked much more confident. Finally, at the sixth stage of the season, held in Baku, Peres’s finest hour struck. The pace of the Mexican during the race allowed the team to count on a double: Perez confidently walked second for an impressive part of the distance, well, six laps before the finish, a tire explosion on Verstappen’s car brought Cheko to the leaders of the race. At the restart, it seemed that Hamilton would simply eat Perez on the old rubber, but in reality Lewis withdrew in the first corner. So the Mexican won his first victory for the new team.
At that moment, perhaps even the most skeptical fans admitted that Red Bull had fully guessed with the signing of Perez. Then it seemed that Sergio went through a period of adaptation and became the embodiment of an almost ideal partner for Max Verstappen. The co-pilot of Red Bull was required to take points from Mercedes, shoot in case of problems with Max and be loyal to team tactics – after the race in Baku, all this was applicable to Peres.
Perez’s Black Stripe – four points scored in the last four races
After the Azerbaijani triumph, Sergio held several more successful races. On the “Paul Ricard” Perez managed to reach the podium, and at the Styrian Grand Prix Cheko lost the podium solely due to a mistake by the mechanics at the pit stop. The points, which the Mexican consistently gained, allowed the Austrian team to confidently lead the constructors’ championship after two home races at the Red Bull Ring. But, starting from the next stage, Peres was supposedly replaced.
A series of failures for Cheko began with the British Grand Prix: a departure during a sprint race and, as a result, a start from the pit lane. On Sunday at Silverstone, Perez was only useful to the team because he was able to take the best lap from Hamilton. In the next race at the Hungaroring, Sergio was unable to overcome even the first corner. Although we must admit that the Mexican is not at all to blame for his Hungarian gathering – Cheko was one of the victims of the strike performed by Bottas.
Before the next round in Belgium, Sergio was officially announced as the Red Bull driver for the next season. The Mexican failed to convince the leadership of the “bulls” of the correctness of his decision. Cheko’s qualification was frankly weak: in the rain he lost to Verstappen one and a half seconds and showed only the seventh time. The cherry on the cake for Cheko’s unsuccessful weekend was Sunday: the Mexican crashed his car on the way to the grid. On that day, Perez became the only rider in the peloton who managed to change his starting position.
The past weekend at Zandvoort turned out to be another disaster for Sergio. On Saturday, Cheko was unable to overcome even the first qualifying segment. And in the race, the Mexican killed his “hard” already in the first laps, getting confused in his own maneuvers behind Mazepin, because of which he had to drastically change tactics. As a result, Peres still managed to get to the points zone and score four points – clearly not the result that the leadership requires from him.
Dr. Marco is personally to blame for this situation. There were practically no alternatives to Perez
Against the background of Perez’s not very successful results, the Mexican’s new contract definitely raises questions: Cheko is no longer seen as the ideal partner for Max, as a couple of months ago. At the moment, the second issue of “Red Bull” trite does not cope with its duties. The same Valtteri Bottas sIt is often located somewhere close to the leaders, which allows the captain’s bridge of the Mercedes to use the Finn in its tactical maneuvers. In the last race at Zandvoort, Bottasu chose the tactic of one pit stop, so that he, in turn, stayed longer on the track and could hold back the leading Verstappen. In the end, the Silver Arrows plan did not work, but, nevertheless, Mercedes, unlike Red Bull, has at least the opportunity to use its co-pilot in this way.
Also, the time chosen for signing a new agreement with the Mexican does not seem entirely logical. The team decided not to delay until the end of the year and to extend Sergio right in the middle of the season. That is, the decision on the Perez contract was made on the basis of only eleven races held, two of which he failed through his own fault. Perhaps Dr. Marco should have waited until the end of the championship and made an informed decision at the end of the season. But even so, Perez would have been extended with a very high degree of probability. After all, the Mexican’s new contract revealed one of the problems of the “bulls” – Perez’s lack of real competitors for the place of Max’s partner.
You need to understand that last year, “Red Bull” came to the candidacy of Cheko not from a better life. The tough policy of Dr. Marco, which he pursued for several years, was largely the reason that there were no pilots left in the “bulls” system who could be raised to the main team. In just a couple of years, several talented graduates of the academy left the Austrian concern at once – Sainz, Riccardo, Kvyat. And if the Australian left Red Bull on his own initiative, then Carlos Sainz is a real omission on the part of Dr. Marco. In theory, the Spaniard could be a worthy partner for Max Verstappen.
Surely many will remember Pierre Gasly as an alternative to Sergio Perez. Only now the Frenchman has long been no longer a real candidate for a place in Red Bull. Indeed, as practice shows, there is simply no way back to the main team of bulls. Dr. Marco, like any other authoritarian boss, is not inclined to admit his own mistakes. And in the case of signing Gasley in Red Bull, he will do it for the whole world.
So it turns out that the new contract of Peres, in fact, was a matter of time and there were practically no real alternatives for the leadership of the “bulls”. In many ways, Dr. Marco created a similar situation with his own hands. The personnel chaos that reigned in the Red Bull system over the past few years could not but affect the current state of affairs. Although a couple of seasons ago it was almost impossible to imagine that a third-party and at the same time not the most stable pilot would play for the Austrian team.