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Formula 1

Red Bull picks Perez over Sainz for 2025 F1 deal

by Josh Suttill
3 min read

Red Bull will retain Sergio Perez as Max Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate for at least the 2025 season, ending months of speculation over his future.

Lewis Hamilton's bombshell Ferrari move put the ousted Carlos Sainz on the market for next year and his strong start to 2024 - including his Australian Grand Prix win while Red Bull faltered - left team boss Christian Horner weighing up whether Red Bull needed to look outside its own driver roster for Verstappen's next team-mate.

With Daniel Ricciardo not impressing enough at Red Bull's sister team RB and Honda protege Yuki Tsunoda seemingly not being a considered option for the senior team, it left Sainz as the biggest threat to Perez remaining at Red Bull.

Perez started 2024 strongly with a trio of second-place finishes in the first four races, but his form has dipped at recent race weekends.

But despite the nadir of that dip being a tumultuous weekend last time out in Monaco, where a Q1 exit was followed by an opening lap shunt (albeit not one of Perez's making), it soon emerged after the race that Red Bull had decided to recommit to Perez.

Now Red Bull has given official confirmation of its choice, stating six-time F1 race winner Perez will remain with the team.

That announcement was worded as Perez having signed until 2026, though Horner said only in the team's press release that it was "an important time to confirm our line-up for 2025".

That hints that Red Bull is keeping its options open for 2026 when there will be a new car and engine formula, the latter of which Red Bull itself will be tackling for the first time via its new Red Bull Powertrains division.Horner added that "continuity and stability are important for the team" and said Perez and Verstappen were a "successful and robust partnership".

"The past few races have been tough, there is convergence on the grid, but we are confident in Checo and look forward to his return to proven form and performance, that we so often see," said Horner.

Perez was quoted as saying he was "delighted to be staying here to continue our journey together and contribute to this team’s great history for two more years".

"Being part of the team is an immense challenge, and one I love," he said. "We have a great challenge this year and I have full trust in the whole team that the future is bright here and I am excited to be part of it.

"I want to thank everyone for all the trust they are putting in me, it is a lot and I want to pay it back with excellent results on track, and off track. I think we have a lot of work to do, we have a lot more Championships to win together."

Perez has been with the team since Red Bull picked him up for 2021 when it was forced to drop Alex Albon after he failed to get close enough to Verstappen. Perez has assisted Verstappen to three consecutive drivers' titles and contributed to the last two Red Bull constructors' championship wins.

Verstappen has a contract until the end of 2028 but there's been rumours of discontent with the team ever since controversy surrounding Horner kicked off earlier this year.

As for Sainz, his 2025 options now appear to be picking between two back-of-the-grid teams, with Red Bull sticking with Perez and Mercedes still set on promoting its protege Kimi Antonelli.

It's either the future Audi works team Sauber or Williams for 2025. Alpine has a vacancy following news of Esteban Ocon's exit at the end of the year, but a return to Enstone, where Sainz raced when it was Renault for just over a year, doesn't appear to be a realistic option.

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