Red Bull has denied wild reports suggesting Sergio Perez is poised to announce his immediate retirement from Formula 1.
With the off-form 33-year-old’s place at the team in serious doubt despite his 2024 contract, it has been rumoured he might either quit Red Bull on the occasion of his forthcoming home race or even quit the sport altogether.
“There’s absolutely nothing to it,” a Red Bull spokesman told Auto Motor und Sport.
And team consultant Dr Helmut Marko added: “I don’t know anything about that.”
Indeed, Marko even corrected the claim that Perez has struggled consistently since the Spanish GP in June.
“He made it to the podium four times after that and showed a few great comebacks like at the Red Bull Ring and in Monza,” the 80-year-old added.
Curiously, however, the latest Perez rumours coincide with news that Daniel Ricciardo is now fit and ready to return to his Alpha Tauri cockpit this weekend in Austin.
He demonstrated his ability to drive again in the wake of his broken hand with a demonstration run in an old Red Bull car in Nashville over the weekend.
“I’ve been in the simulator, everything went fine, the hand works well, and I’m ready to get behind the wheel,” the Australian, a clear contender to replace Perez next year, said.
If Perez is ousted and Ricciardo replaces him, that would open up the full-time Alpha Tauri seat next year for impressive reserve Liam Lawson.
“He (Perez) has a contract, but what are contracts worth in Formula 1?” Frans Verschuur, a well-known Dutch racing team figure, told Ziggo Sport.
“Nyck de Vries also thought he had a contract, and then he was gone.”
Verschuur added: “I think it all depends on what he does now in these last races. Will he make a mess of things again as he has recently?”