Tom Coronel, a well-known Dutch motor racing personality, has issued a candid and harsh critique of Sergio Perez’s performance in the 2023 Formula 1 season alongside teammate Max Verstappen. While Perez secured early victories in Jeddah and Baku, his form significantly dipped as the season progressed, leading to questions about his future in F1.
Coronel, a charismatic figure with experience in various racing categories, didn’t mince words when discussing Perez’s season with the Dutch magazine Formule 1. “As Red Bull, I would simply buy out that contract and tell Perez, ‘Grab a few Caipirinhas on the beach in Mexico and never come back,” he stated bluntly. Coronel labeled Perez as “the true flop of the season,” citing his consistent underperformance despite multiple opportunities. “Yes, he finished second in the drivers’ championship, but so far away from Max. Believe me, even Nyck de Vries was more successful,” Coronel added.
When asked about the reasons behind Perez’s struggles, Coronel pointed to a combination of mental and technical factors. “First it was between the ears and then it was in the car,” he explained, suggesting that Perez’s issues were both psychological and related to his handling of the car.
In stark contrast, Coronel praised Verstappen’s mental strength and determination. “I mean this in a positive way, but this guy is the biggest monster or bastard you can imagine. Sometimes there is so much fire and steam coming out of his ears and mouth that you see things and think ‘Wow’,” he said, highlighting Verstappen’s intense competitive spirit. Coronel’s remarks paint a picture of Verstappen as a fierce competitor, far removed from Perez’s more subdued demeanor. “Compared to Max, Perez is a softie. A tourist,” Coronel concluded, drawing a stark comparison between the two Red Bull drivers.