Perez has ‘worked hard’ to regain F1 tyre whisperer reputation
By Ian Parkes
Wednesday 24th May, 2023 - 10:24pm
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner claims Sergio Perez has “worked hard” in his bid to recapture the form that saw him become renowned for making a set of tyres last.
Perez has often performed wonders in the past on Pirelli’s rubber to secure a result, gaining himself a formidable reputation and leaving his rivals questioning how he managed to treat his tyres more gently compared to their own degradation woes.
The change in aerodynamic regulations last year, however, cast Perez back a step with regard to tyre life, with the Mexican conceding prior to the recent Miami Grand Prix that in 2022 tyre management had become a weakness.
The 33-year-old, however, has gone some way this season to rediscover the knack of how to again stretch a stint on his tyres.
Acknowledging what Perez has achieved, Horner said: “Checo, prior to these cars, had a very strong reputation in terms of how we manage those tyres.
“I think this car reset that somewhat, and I think Max (Verstappen) actually set the bar on that last year.
“Of course, all the data is open and available between the two drivers and engineering teams, and I think he’s worked hard to understand how to create that longevity.”
That has allowed Perez to at least become Verstappen’s nearest challenger this season as he has scored two wins and finished runner-up twice to trail the reigning two-time F1 champion by 14 points going into this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
It is a circuit where Perez won last year after mastering the tricky conditions sparked by poor weather.
As Perez has only previously won on street circuits, it would not be a surprise if he managed to edge Verstappen to again close the gap between the duo.
“Certain circuits have always suited him,” said Horner. “I mean, street circuits, he’s always excelled at.”
Whether Perez can sustain his challenge around venues where Verstappen has previously been strong is another matter.
“As we move back into Europe, some of the more classic circuits, that’s where I think he’s going to need to carry this confidence, which I believe he absolutely can do,” insisted Horner.
“But he’s not driving particularly differently. This is his third year in the team, he’s settled, he understands obviously how everything works and he’s in a good headspace right now.”Sign up here to receive our daily newsletters and breaking news alerts, sent straight to your inbox.
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