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Horner has revealed how Red Bull is supporting Perez amid qualifying failures

Red Bull F1 Team Principal, Christian Horner, has detailed what he believes is the best way to support and encourage Sergio Perez, given his recent run of poor qualifying form

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Sergio Perez is under pressure to fix his woeful F1 qualifying form. Boss Christian Horner has shed light on what Red Bull is doing about it.

Sergio Perez underperformed in F1 qualifying for the fifth weekend in a row, going out in Q1 at Silverstone. (Image Credit: Red Bull Media Pool)

Speaking with media, including FormulaNerds, after Sunday’s British Grand Prix, Horner broke down what Perez needs to do to get out of his Saturday funk.

In a race in which double world champion Max Verstappen continued Red Bull’s 100% winning record in 2023, Perez’s absence on the podium was amplified.

It’s now five successive F1 race weekends that the Mexican has failed to reach Q3, let alone qualify near the top of the order. Time and time again, Perez is having to work his way through the pack on Sunday, compromising his final finishing position.

Without a 1-2 in five grands prix, in easily the most dominant car on the grid, Red Bull is starting to get heat for the 33-year-old’s rut.

When asked about the issue, Horner pivoted to highlight the fact that Perez is still delivering the goods on race day.

“He just needs to break it now,” he began.

“He’ll do it in Budapest, I’m confident. It’s the way he races, I mean, some of the moves in the race – and one in particular on Carlos Sainz – was quite stunning, into Stowe. And his pace – if you look at this pace in the last stint – he was right there.

“You know, it’s frustrating for him, that he’s having to fight back all the time, but he’s just gotta sort his qualifying out on Saturday, and as a team, we’ll do our best to support him on that.”

A difference in approach

Culminating in AlphaTauri’s unceremonious axing of Nyck de Vries, there has been a clear difference in how Red Bull has publicly handled its two underperforming drivers.

This has been contingent upon the very reason Horner zeroed in on – race pace.

With the contrast in Perez’s form over a weekend, Horner moved on to where he felt the issue ultimately lies:

“It’s just one of those things. I think as [with] any sport, all sport, 90% of it’s in the head. And I think he just needs a good run, and he’ll find his momentum again.”

Horner did, however, provide some insight into when this current slump starts to become a problem.

“Well, at the moment, he’s still running second in the championship, and I think he’s extended his lead over Fernando [Alonso] today,” the 49-year-old pointed out.

“We’ve got a good car, but we need to make sure we’ve got both cars in contention.”

An arm around his shoulder

FormulaNerds then asked how Red Bull approaches the situation, given the disparity in fortunes day-to-day. Horner provided an answer that, in hindsight, further highlights the departure between the team’s public handling of De Vries and Perez:

“I think he’s the type of guy that just needs an arm around his shoulder.”

He went on to add: “And you know, you work with him and that’s what we’re doing. We’re supporting him, we know he can do it, we know he’ll get back there and we’re just trying to make sure it happens as quickly as possible.”

With Daniel Ricciardo now back in a race seat, and within the Red Bull family, the pressure on Perez kicks up a notch.

The Australian’s eyes are surely trained on the Mexican’s seat for 2024, but will Perez be able to get out of his lull and save his Red Bull career, or will no. 3 be returning to the team on a more permanent basis?

Featured Image Credit: Red Bull Media Pool

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