Helmut Marko shares why Sergio Perez's contract was extended prematurely by Red Bull

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Sprint
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Sprint - Getty Images

Red Bull chief advisor Helmut Marko has revealed that one of the reasons why Sergio Perez was given a premature extension was to bring calm to the team. The team has been going through political turmoil since the start of the season and it has seen the entire squad being split into two factions.

One of the factions backs Christian Horner, while the other faction has Max Verstappen, his father Jos Verstappen and Helmut Marko. Everything reached a breaking point in Jeddah when there were rumors that Marko could be suspended from Red Bull. This led to Max claiming that he would leave the team if something like that happened with the Austrian.

What followed was Red Bull's ace designer Adrian Newey calling time on his stint with the team. Since then, however, things have calmed down a lot. This was precisely why the news of Sergio Perez extending his contract with the team came as a shock, especially since the Mexican has not been performing well.

Talking to OE24, Helmut Marko was questioned on why the team took this call. The Austrian said that the move was made to bring the team a sense of calmness.

"He really didn't have to stick to it. We extended his contract because we wanted to bring calm to our team, which unfortunately didn't quite work out. But now Checo has three races ahead of him on three real race tracks, so he can prove himself," Marko said.

Marko also reiterated the claim he made in Canada, that the McLaren duo of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris is the best in F1 at the moment.

"But that's the way it is. They are young and are always very close together, especially in qualifying. And both will improve, especially Piastri," he added.

Sergio Perez wants to retire at Red Bull

Sergio Perez was questioned about his contract extension and the fact that he now has a contract until the end of the 2026 F1 season. The Mexican admitted that there were certainly options on the table for him. He did, however, reveal that Red Bull was always the first option as he intends to retire at the team.

In the pre-race press conference in Canada, he said,

“Certainly when you look at Fernando or even Lewis, there’s a long way to go [in my career]. But I think I didn’t sign my last contract. I don’t think I’ve done that. I don’t think it’s something that you feel, because when you commit to two years in Formula 1 it’s a lot of time, a lot of energy, and it’s a long way down the line."

He added,

“So, to be honest I don’t really think about that – but what I’m pretty sure about is that I want to finish my career at Red Bull. There were other options out there, but for me, my plan A, B and C was definitely to stay at Red Bull."

Sergio Perez might have a two-year contract extension in the bag but if his performances don't improve, he will find it hard to continue with the seat.

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Edited by Aayush Kapoor
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