Three-time Formula 1 grand prix winner Johnny Herbert has suggested Red Bull should look to replace Sergio Perez with McLaren’s Lando Norris.
Perez’s future at Red Bull has come into question in recent months amid a difficult spell of form that saw him fail to reach the final segment of qualifying on five consecutive occasions.
The Mexican driver currently sits 125 points down on teammate Max Verstappen, who has dominated the current campaign with 10 wins from 12 races.
A study from OLBG shows that Perez’s average qualifying deficit to Verstappen is 0.958secs – the largest gap on the F1 grid.
“It’s alarming,” said Herbert.
“You don’t want to be that far away from your teammate for sure. If I was Perez, I’d be worried and very uncomfortable.
“Verstappen is very happy with the situation because he’s not under pressure or being challenged in any way, but Red Bull know they’ll need someone that will be consistently at the top when the other teams get more competitive.”
“If I was Perez, I’d be worried and very uncomfortable. He might think he’s done a good job in qualifying and they put the screen in front of you and you think ‘oh, god I’m still miles off – what do I need to do?’
“We’re halfway through the season and he’s still not able to find that extra speed, there may be certain races when he can, but he can’t find the consistency like Verstappen. Only Perez can turn things around.”
Norris a Red Bull contender?
Perez currently has a contract in place until the end of the 2024 campaign and Red Bull has asserted that the 33-year-old won’t be dropped early.
Should the Milton Keynes-based squad look to replace Perez, Herbert has suggested that McLaren star Lando Norris could be an option.
But the eight-time podium finisher has a deal in place until the end of the 2025 season, which could complicate the situation.
“Who do you replace Perez with? They could look at Lando Norris – I don’t know if he can get out of his contract or if there’s a performance clause,” Herbert added.
“I don’t see why Charles Leclerc or Carlos Sainz would like to leave Ferrari, I know there are some frustrations.
“But there’s a big risk factor to consider when it comes to joining Red Bull because Verstappen is there, he’s not an easy person to go up against.”