Sergio Perez ‘100% Responsible’ for Own F1 Success in 2023 After Brazil Drama
Red Bull Racing driver Sergio Perez is looking to seize more opportunities in the 2023 Formula 1 season after teammate Max Verstappen snubbed him last year.
Red Bull Racing launched its 2023 car in New York City yesterday and showed the world a slightly different livery and team look, but huge news about partnering with Ford for its 2026 powertrain. Both drivers were present at the launch in the city and The Drive had a chance to speak with Sergio Perez about his ambition for the 2023 season.
Perez had a difficult but fruitful 2022 season, from struggling to keep up with teammate Max Verstappen in qualifying pace through the later part of the year to winning the iconic Monaco Grand Prix and Singapore Grand Prix. Still, he struggled with the car characteristics of the RB18, and is determined to be better in 2023. He especially wants to take control of his own destiny after the controversial Brazilian Grand Prix, where his two-time world champion teammate Max Verstappen refused to follow team orders to help Perez clinch a podium.
“I'm 100% responsible for that [my own success] to work together with my team, to have a good plan, to follow it," Perez told The Drive at the Red Bull F1 car launch in NYC Friday. "And to be able to find the consistency throughout the whole season, that will be the main key for us.”
In the closing laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Verstappen’s Red Bull was wounded from damage with a collision with Lewis Hamilton. Red Bull ordered Verstappen to let Perez by, but the Dutchman did not acknowledge the order and ignored it until the end of the race. After the race, Verstappen took the radio to emphatically refuse to move aside for Perez and essentially shut the door on any future team orders, something that Perez always obeyed with gusto, defending Verstappen from a charging Lewis Hamilton or letting him by without argument.
This changed the relationship between the two drivers, even if they have publicly refused any change. And it’s clear that Perez wants to become a stronger force within a team that is built around Verstappen. His statement reflects this, with intent upon his own success and slightly less focus on the success of Red Bull as a whole.
There is no “I” in team, but world champions aren’t known to be charitable on the track. It’s yet to be seen how the off-season changed the two Red Bull drivers, but the old saying is true: your biggest rival is your teammate.
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