Perez unruffled by Ricciardo pressure at Red Bull
By Ian Parkes
Saturday 11th February, 2023 - 2:35pm
Sergio Perez has dismissed the threat Daniel Ricciardo seemingly poses to his long-term F1 future with Red Bull.
Perez goes into the new Formula 1 season knowing he has to find a greater level of consistency if he is to challenge team-mate Max Verstappen.
The Mexican driver won just two races in 2022 compared to Verstappen’s 15 as the Dutchman cruised to a second consecutive title.
Red Bull has since signed Ricciardo as its Third Driver, which would appear to place pressure on Perez to perform even though he has a contract through to the end of 2024.
Ricciardo is aware of how easy it is to be axed despite having a deal in place after McLaren ended his three-year contract a season early last term.
Addressing the Ricciardo factor, speaking to invited media including Speedcafe.com, Perez said: ‘When you are at Red Bull Racing you always have to perform at your best.
“It doesn’t matter if Daniel is here or not. Red Bull can pretty much pick any driver they want on the grid.
“So in terms of pressure, the pressure is always there. If you are a Red Bull driver, and always when you are a Red Bull driver, you have to deliver. That’s no different to any other year.”
Red Bull “lucky” to have Ricciardo – Perez
Ricciardo will predominantly undertake sim work, helping to develop the RB19 – the livery of which was unveiled in New York recently – over the course of the campaign.
Verstappen has already made clear that he would prefer to undertake as much of his own sim work as possible, although is not dismissive of what Ricciardo might be able to provide.
From Perez’s perspective, he feels the team is “very fortunate” to have a driver of Ricciardo’s experience assisting in the background.
“To be able to have him back at the factory with the engineers, he will really know what we are talking about with the car,” said Perez.
“It will be great to have someone like him around, especially on the weekends, he will be a massive help.
“We are very lucky to be able to take advantage of him and the work he’s going to be doing.”
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