Formula 1

Perez signs new two-year deal with Red Bull

Perez signs new two-year deal with Red Bull

Sergio Perez signed for Red Bull in December 2020 [Getty Images]

Sergio Perez has signed a new two-year contract to stay at Red Bull in Formula 1 until the end of 2026.

The world champions have decided to stick with the Mexican, who joined the team in 2021, rather than switch him for Carlos Sainz, who is available following Lewis Hamilton’s decision to move to Ferrari from 2025.

Team principal Christian Horner said: "Continuity and stability are important for the team and both Checo and Max [Verstappen] are a successful and robust partnership."

Horner’s decision comes despite a dip in form for Perez in the past three races in Miami, Imola and Monaco, where he finished fourth, eighth and crashed out on the first lap after qualifying 16th.

Horner said: "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."

Perez said: "I am delighted to be staying here to continue our journey together. Being part of the team is an immense challenge and one I love.

"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."

Verstappen won three of the first four races of the season and took pole position at the first seven grands prix.

But the Dutchman, who produced the most dominant season in F1 history in 2023, has won only once in the past three races as Red Bull have faced a renewed challenge from McLaren and Ferrari.

McLaren’s Lando Norris beat Verstappen in Miami and the world champion could finish only sixth at the last race in Monaco, where Charles Leclerc won for Ferrari.

Perez has not won a race since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April 2023, despite Red Bull winning all but one race last season.

He went into this season under pressure to provide more consistent back-up to Verstappen.

Perez managed to do that in finishing second to Verstappen in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Japan early in the season.

But he failed to step up when his team leader retired in Australia, where Sainz won for Ferrari, and could finish only third, behind Norris, in China, before his recent slump.

Horner said: "Last year was a unicorn season and we will need to work hard to retain our titles.

"But we are assured in our line-up and with the team as a whole, which is imperative in what is shaping up to be a close-fought championship this year."

Horner’s decision to stick with Perez means Sainz will have to look elsewhere for a seat. He is said to be deciding between offers from Sauber, which will become Audi’s works team in 2026, and Williams.

And keeping Perez comes despite the possibility that Red Bull could lose Verstappen in 2026.

Perez staying – but could Verstappen go?

Mercedes have used the destabilising effect of the allegations of sexual harassment and coercive, controlling behaviour made against Horner by a female employee last December to try to tempt Verstappen away.

Horner denies the allegations and an initial investigation dismissed the complaint, but the turmoil caused has led to the decision of design legend Adrian Newey, Red Bull’s chief technical officer, to negotiate an early end to his contract.

Newey, who had been committed to Red Bull until the end of 2025, is now believed to be free to join another team from March next year, early enough to play a significant role in the design of their car for the new engine and chassis regulations coming into force in 2026.

Verstappen has also been unsettled by the allegations – his father Jos said in February that the team would fall apart if Horner stayed in his role, and Jos Verstappen and Horner are currently at loggerheads.

Verstappen is not expected to leave Red Bull for 2025, but the possibility remains open for 2026.

Although his contract with Red Bull is until the end of 2028, BBC Sport has been told Verstappen has a contractual mechanism by which he can leave whenever he wishes.

This is tied to the position of Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko, an ally of the Verstappens. If Marko leaves Red Bull, Verstappen is contractually free to go, too, and the Austrian is said to have pledged to act in whatever way Verstappen wishes for his future.

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