Former Formula One world champion Jenson Button has said that Sergio Perez could be looking for another team next year if the Red Bull driver’s recent struggles continue throughout the rest of the season.
Perez was in the thick of the championship hunt just a month ago but has suffered a dramatic dip in performance with a run of sub-par results, failing to reach the podium in the last three races for Red Bull.
Teammate Max Verstappen claimed his sixth win of the campaign at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday to open a 69-point lead over Perez in the standings, with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso closing in on second and now just nine adrift.
Concern has mounted to the point that Red Bull team principal Christian Horner felt the need to have a chat with Perez in Montreal, telling him to forget about the championship and refocus on driving.
Horner also said the team was going to stand by Perez and help him through the slump but Red Bull have not always shown patience with under-performing drivers.
“I don’t think he is [in danger] for this year but at the end of the year who knows,” Button said during a media call to promote NASCAR’s first street race in Chicago, which the British driver will compete in. “Who do you put in there?
“Obviously they have Daniel Ricciardo there as an ambassador but I don’t know if they are willing to put him in that seat.
“I’ve got to feel for Checo [Perez], three races on the bounce he’s been below par. There’s no catching Max now he’s gone and the championship is definitely his.”
Scenarios are starting to emerge about what a possible drivers shake-up at Red Bull might look like.
One rumour has Ricciardo, who previously drove for Red Bull from 2014 to 2018, going from a reserve role to a seat with sister outfit AlphaTauri, replacing underperforming Nick de Vries.
Perez may lose Red Bull seat if poor form continues – Button