Will Sergio Perez's father be the last straw that costs him his Red Bull seat?
It's not a secret anymore that Sergio Perez's prospects of being a Red Bull driver in the future are hanging by a thread. The Mexican's performances have not been great; his season has had too many hits and misses.
It has reached a point where it has become tough to guarantee his future with the team.
While Red Bull boss Christian Horner has continued to reassure everyone that Perez's seat is not in danger as he has a contract for next season, recent developments have cast a shadow on that.
The team's chief advisor Helmut Marko has been quite vocal about finding Perez's replacement. Of course that was before his ludicrous comments about Sergio Perez being a Mexican, but Horner's admission that the team will weigh its options in 2024 coupled with Perez's horrible weekend in Japan has seemingly tightened the noose around the Mexican's future.
The thing that could prove to be the last straw that decides Perez's fate at Red Bull is his father's recent comments, which are unlikely to be received well at Milton Keynes. Sergio Perez is already on thin ice, and with the comments made by his father, that thin ice might be about to break.
What has Sergio Perez's father said?
At a time of extreme stress for the Mexican driver, his father has come out with a bombshell of an interview. Talking to the Mexican media Esto.com, Sergio's father claimed that his son was doing the job that was required of him at Red Bull.
Alleging favoritism towards Max Verstappen and how everything was aligned towards the Dutch driver, Sergio Perez's father said:
"Checo is second and that is exactly the position for which he was hired by Red Bull. There is only room for one world champion. Everything is built around Max, he (Pérez, ed.) must respect that. The car is tailored to Max, who likes a lot of grip at the front of the car.
"Checo prefers grip at the rear, but he has to drive a car that is tailor-made for Max. He has a huge number of fans all over the world and is the only driver from Latin America. Any brand in the world would be happy with him."
Sergio Perez is already under pressure at Red Bull, and his father alleging favoritism for his teammate in the media is not going to help the Mexican's case in any way.
Unfortunately for Perez, this is not the first time that his father has come out with comments of this kind. Even in 2022, after the public spat between Verstappen and Perez in Brazil, the latter's father made comments that threatened to stoke the flames in the already vulnerable relationship.
Why the comments are likely to infuriate Red Bull
One of the reasons why these comments could potentially cause a storm is the recent insinuation from Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. The Austrian claimed that the team was built around Max Verstappen, which he believes is the reason behind the huge gulf between the two drivers.
The comments were completely shot down by both Verstappen and Red Bull. Christian Horner even went ahead and questioned Wolff's understanding of how an F1 team works, with Verstappen not mincing his words either.
Sergio Perez's father rekindling the debate by claiming that the Red Bull was built towards Verstappen's liking, is likely to ruffle quite a few feathers in the team.
At this stage of the season, Perez is at 223 points compared to Verstappen at 400 points. Verstappen has won 13 races this season already while Perez has won just two.
What has been even more jarring is Perez's lack of consistency. There have been far too many off-weekends, and even in races where the Red Bull has dominated, he's missed out on podiums.
When we talk about potential replacements for Sergio Perez in the team, there's Lando Norris, who Helmut Marko has openly courted. There's also Daniel Ricciardo, arguably the darling of Red Bull. Then there are wildcards like Nico Hulkenberg and Yuki Tsunoda, who were reportedly looked at as potential replacements.
Sergio Perez has not been in the best of form this season, to say the least. That is why it was the worst possible thing for his father to stoke the fire and give Red Bull another reason to replace him.
Unfortunately for the Mexican, the shots have already been fired. These comments are likely going to make Red Bull think long and hard about whether they want to continue with Sergio Perez as Max Verstappen's teammate.