Sergio Perez has been warned he wants a “software program replace” as a way to keep in entrance of Daniel Ricciardo at Pink Bull by former driver turned commentator David Coulthard.
Perez is contracted alongside two-time World Champion Max Verstappen, with Ricciardo taking the reserve position at his former staff after being compelled out of his seat at McLaren by fellow Australian Oscar Piastri, however with solely two wins final yr, Perez is within the sizzling seat coming into 2023.
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The Mexican triumphed on the streets of Monaco and Singapore, however missed out on second place within the World Drivers’ Championship final yr to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, after Verstappen (having already received the World Championship) refused to permit him by means of on the penultimate race of the yr in Sao Paulo.
The person dubbed the ‘excellent teammate’ for the selflessness and defence within the well-known closing race of the 2021 season ordinarily can be secure together with his contract set to conclude in 2024, however with growing tensions between him and Verstappen as Pink Bull’s golden baby, Perez may discover himself watching from the pit wall.
Relations between the 2 had been frosty after the incident in Brazil, the place Verstappen cryptically mentioned on staff radio that he “had (his) causes” for not permitting Perez by means of.
Perez, talking on the time, mentioned it confirmed “who he (Verstappen) actually is.”
Within the midst of the saga, Verstappen’s mom Sophie Kumpen accused Perez of being untrue to his accomplice in a quickly-deleted Instagram remark, referencing movies surfacing after the 32-year-old’s victory in Monaco that featured him dancing with a number of girls who weren’t his spouse.
With Pink Bull’s prior historical past of adjusting staff make-up on a whim, Coulthard says Perez’s F1 future is “in his personal fingers”.
“He has entry to the info of the world champion.
“If he does, then the world championship is there for him to place his hand on.
“If he doesn’t, then he will likely be one other driver that received a number of grands prix.”
Coulthard additionally warned that Perez can’t get complacent and has to verify he doesn’t give Ricciardo an opportunity to outshine him.
“Preserve an in depth eye on his [Ricciardo’s] well being and health,” Coulthard instructed PlanetF1.com.
“Don’t pull a sickie someplace. Once I was within the McLaren, I did 9 years there and I did each take a look at and by no means missed a race even after I felt horrible, even after I was getting out of the automotive and being sick.
“As a result of I knew the minute I let the take a look at driver get within the automotive, it gave him a possibility to point out how good he was. So I didn’t let him get within the automotive. He may speak all day lengthy, however he couldn’t put in a lap time. So that you’ve acquired to defend your territory.
“It’s the previous Jerry Maguire line – this isn’t present mates it’s present enterprise.”
Pink Bull traditionally haven’t been averse to swapping teammates round their two-team arrange – Verstappen himself joined the staff from junior staff Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) in 2016 earlier than the Spanish Grand Prix, changing Russian Daniil Kvyat.
Ricciardo departed the Milton Keynes outfit in 2019, after which the revolving door of teammates for Verstappen continued – Frenchman Pierre Gasly was promoted from Toro Rosso, solely to be demoted earlier than season’s finish in favour of Thai driver Alexander Albon, who himself misplaced his place in on the finish of 2020 for Sergio Perez.
Ricciardo’s transfer to Pink Bull as a reserve, rejecting race seat gives at smaller groups Williams and Haas, has been roundly criticised throughout the F1 paddock.
Journalist Will Buxton mentioned: “I’d argue he stands to realize nothing.”
Former World Champion Jenson Button additionally criticised the transfer, saying he was taking an enormous gamble on a “staff the place he thinks he can get a seat for 2024, in any other case it’s sport over since you get forgotten after a yr in F1.”
Regardless of Ricciardo’s projected A$36 million in earnings subsequent yr off the again of his McLaren payout and Pink Bull deal, his supervisor insists “none of that is about ego or unachievable calls for.”
“That is a couple of man who was dealt a nasty hand, now discovering the fitting subsequent alternative.”