Sergio Perez Admits Pushing For Two-Year Red Bull Deal

Christian Horner Praises Sergio Perez For Achieving Red Bull's First-Ever 1-2 In Drivers' Championship
Christian Horner Praises Sergio Perez For Achieving Red Bull's First-Ever 1-2 In Drivers' Championship

Sergio Perez openly admits he is pushing for more than a one-year contract extension at Red Bull Racing.

The 2025 ‘silly season’ is now moving at a fast pace at an uncharacteristically early time of the new season – both because so many drivers are out of contract and also because of the looming rules revolution for 2026.

Carlos Sainz is now a leading figure in the market’s dynamics, linked not only to Red Bull but also the seat set to vacated by the Mercedes driver who is replacing him at Ferrari next year, Lewis Hamilton.

Toto Wolff admits he is trying to slow the momentum of the silly season.

“We’re just going at our pace,” the Mercedes boss and co-owner told Sky Deutschland in Shanghai.

Hamilton’s early announcement caught Wolff by surprise “and now I want exactly the opposite when it comes to next year’s decision”.

“Carlos is doing a great job,” the Austrian admits. “There’s nothing to say about that. So he’s one that we’re taking into account.”

A frontrunner to replace Hamilton is Wolff’s 17-year-old protege Andrea ‘Kimi’ Antonelli, giving Mercedes the freedom to see if the Red Bull power struggle heats up again to the point that Max Verstappen flees.

“It’s very serious,” Jack Plooij, a pundit for Ziggo Sport, said. “That’s because of James (Jim) Ratcliffe,” he added, referring to Wolff’s fellow one-third shareholder at Mercedes.

“He is behind this, and he has said ‘Do everything to bring Max to our team.” Billionaire Ratcliffe also heads Mercedes’ title sponsor Ineos.

“There is one team in the history of Formula 1 that has always handled the transition to new engines the best – Mercedes,” Plooij added. “If they can show Verstappen that they’re making a bomb of an engine, then will Max go for the best engine in 2026?”

Sainz, 29, might therefore be seen as an outside shot at the Mercedes seat.

“Audi is making him an offer,” 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg said in China, “but then he will have no chance of being at the front next year. The team (Sauber) will not even be Audi then.

“And driving alongside Verstappen is no fun for him at Red Bull,” he added. “I don’t think he will ever accept becoming number 2 driver again.”

Verstappen leaving Red Bull prematurely, however, is also unlikely – which is almost certainly why his current teammate Perez appears safe at least for 2025.

The Mexican, though, is pushing for at least a two-year deal.

“I think that makes a lot of sense,” Perez told ESPN Mexico. “I don’t think it makes sense to hire a driver for one year and then all the rules change for 2026, right?

“Especially because there will be a lot of development next year, in the middle of the year, so it’s important to be part of a long-term project.”

Finally, Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko essentially confirms that Sebastian Vettel is looking to return from retirement next year, but is having trouble securing a seat.

“I think he wants it if he sees the chance to get a top car somewhere,” he said in Shanghai. “Then he’s ready for it.

“The problem is that he’s been out of the frame for over a year, and there are no longer that many top seats.”


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