Secrets of “Mercedes” – in “Red Bull”! Will the bulls change the driver again?
When Red Bull announced a deal with Sergio Perez late last year , the Mexican was expected to be more than 1-10 in qualifying with Verstappen and fifth in the championship with Racing Point last year, Checo was higher. And suddenly there were rumors on the Internet that Red Bull was in talks with Valtteri Bottas .
Are Milton Keynes unhappy with yet another co-pilot and ready to take the racer from the enemy camp? Almost, but no.
Why Red Bull Bottas?
According to an initial post on a motorsport blog, the talks were initiated by Bottas’ side, which turned to Red Bull. And from this point of view, nothing extraordinary has happened – the driver, who, apparently, is losing his place in the team, sends a resume to all potential employers.
Is Valtteri looking forward to getting Perez’s place? Unlikely. Sergio is inferior to Verstappen, but much less than Albon and Gasley earlier – they are also not the last riders in the peloton. At the same time, it is believed that the reasons for the problems of Max’s partners are in the features of the Red Bull chassis. “This machine is configured differently. You look for lap time on it in other ways, ”Perez assessed the difference with his previous car.
Hamilton and Bottas at the 2022 Chassis Presentation at Silverstone
But from next year, all teams are building completely new chassis, and Perez is part of this process. It is not known what exactly the cars of 2022 will turn out to be and who will look better on them, and therefore it makes no sense to take a pilot from the outside, who will have to get acquainted with the team again and join the project of a new chassis at such a late stage.
At the same time, Valtteri can be useful for Red Bull as a reserve pilot – he has enough experience and has speed, understanding of processes from the inside and a fresh look. In return, Bottas can receive, for example, support for his rally program and make his WRC debut. And at the same time, all these contacts may be an attempt to put pressure on Toto Wolf, a hint that the Finn is ready to go to competitors and share all the secrets with them.
A chance for Gasly?
It cannot be ruled out that Red Bull decided to get rid of Sergio Perez – Checo is not a graduate of the program, and since next year Formula 1 is switching to a fundamentally new chassis, it is better to give Pierre Gasly another chance – he did everything necessary and more to deserve it. The Frenchman is much stronger and more experienced than in 2019, and even if such a decision seems to someone to be an admission of a mistake, a contract with Bottas in such a situation would look like a complete surrender.
Verstappen and Gasli before the Hungarian Grand Prix
At the same time, Red Bull has already agreed with Pierre Gasly on a contract with Alpha Tauri for the 2022 season. But then, instead of Perez, it would be more logical to try Alex Albon , who in three DTM stages climbed to the podium twice (third places in Monza and Zolder) and is fifth in the championship, and also works as a reserve pilot for Red Bull. “It is interesting to look at what is happening from the outside, I learn a lot from Max and Sergio, but, of course, I would not like to do this all my life,” – said the Thai pilot recently.
The Red Bull still have the pilots from the youth program in reserve, but it is too early for them at Red Bull. So, Yuki Tsunoda has not yet demonstrated the speed and stability that are required from the pilot of the top team.
You can think of a few more exotic options (Hulkenberg, Kvyat …), but none of them will be better than the drivers listed above. And if Red Bull is not suitable for either Perez, Gasley or Albon, then it really makes sense to take Valtteri Bottas – but such a scenario is unlikely.
Red Bull needs stability
For seven years, Red Bull built their team to impose a fight on Mercedes, and only in the 2021 season did everything in Milton Keynes come together – the Austrians have not been so strong since their championship years in the early 2010s. At the same time, the current season will be the last for the current cycle of technical regulations, and the 2022 season will open a new one.
Red Bull CEO Christian Horner with Perez and Verstappen
Next year, engineers will inevitably face children’s problems with cars, a lack of mileage and problems with finding the most basic settings – in such a situation, mutual understanding between pilots and engineers comes to the fore. It is unlikely that Red Bull is considering a scenario with the replacement of Perez – the team needs his experience and speed.
On the other hand, there will be a place in Milton Keynes for Valtteri Bottas – if he is ready to say goodbye to Formula 1 and confine himself to the role of a reservist, here he will be welcomed with open arms. But the Finn in Red Bull should not count on more.