Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull thinks it is “unsustainable” if Sergio Perez continues performing as he is, with the Mexican now at risk of a performance-related clause getting activated in his Formula 1 contract.

Perez has been under pressure over recent weeks to lift his game and deliver more for Red Bull, with the Milton Keynes-based team facing an ever-stronger threat from rivals.

With McLaren and Mercedes making constructors’ championship gains, Red Bull is well aware that its healthy lead right now could be wiped out in the second half of the season if it does not have both its cars delivering strong points.

Another non-score for Perez at the British Grand Prix means he has brought home just 15 points in the last six races since the Miami Grand Prix – with team-mate Max Verstappen having contributed 119 in that same period.

The team remains hopeful that Perez can rediscover the form that saw him deliver podium finishes at the start of the year, but it is clear that patience is beginning to run out.

The situation in the constructors’ championship and the risks of it getting overhauled if things do not change has brought matters to a head – and left the team pondering its next step.

And matters are now close to a critical point with it understood that, despite Perez having a contract in place for next year, he could still be dropped – potentially as early as the summer break – if things do not change.

Sources have suggested that Red Bull has the right to terminate Perez’s contract if he falls more than 100 points behind Verstappen at key points of the championship – which are the summer break and the end of the season.

Right now, after another non-score at Silverstone, he is 137 points adrift and has just two races to get himself within that 100 points range if he is not to expose him to the risk of Red Bull electing to look at other options.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Asked after the British Grand Prix about Perez’s continuing failure to contribute to Red Bull’s constructors’ championship tally, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said: “He knows it’s unsustainable to not be scoring points.

“We have to be scoring points in that car and he knows that. He knows his role and his target, so nobody is more eager than Checo to find his form again.”

One of the headaches Red Bull has with regards to the fate of its second car is that there is no obvious option to slot in if it decides that it needs an alternative to Perez.

The experienced Daniel Ricciardo still has question marks over his potential after an up-and-down season for RB, while the team does not feel that Yuki Tsunoda is the right candidate for promotion.

One possibility that has emerged is reserve driver Liam Lawson, who is scheduled to conduct a filming day in a 2024 Red Bull car at Silverstone later this week.

The New Zealander showed well during his stand-in appearances for Ricciardo at AlphaTauri last year, and senior management are said to be hugely impressed with his mindset and approach to the job.

Horner has played down the significance of Lawson’s run, saying it is a long-planned aero test, but it is obvious that Red Bull management will be looking closely at how well he shows in a car that Perez is struggling with.

“The Liam aero run has been planned for a couple of months now and for Checo, of course he’s under pressure. That’s normal in Formula 1,” he said.

“And when you’re under delivering, that pressure only mounts. He’s aware of that, he knows that and this weekend nothing has gone his way.”

Lawson’s run in the RB20 is not the only test he has scheduled this month, with RB having announced weeks ago that he will also get a run in one of its 2022 cars. This is understood to be scheduled for the final week of July at Imola, which will be a further chance to evaluate his form.

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