Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez at centre of wild F1 rumours ahead of Brazil GP

Sergio Perez extends contract with Red Bull Racing until 2024

The rumour mill is in full swing ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, amid suggestions that Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez could swap seats ahead of next season. Red Bull boss Christian Horner has done his best to play down the rumours after Perez endured a nightmare weekend in front of his home fans.

The Mexican was desperate to put on a show at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, so much so that he audaciously went for the lead in the first corner of the first lap, spinning out and ultimately retiring after making contact with Charles Leclerc.

Despite Red Bull’s almost unprecedented dominance in 2023, Perez finds himself in a scrap to tie up P2 in the Drivers’ Championship. Max Verstappen has more than double the points of every other driver, and Red Bull are 360 points clear in the team standings.

Murmurs from the F1 paddock have suggested that Red Bull may be toying with the idea of drafting in two-time world champion Alonso to take Perez’s place.

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Journalist Albert Fabrega set tongues wagging in the early hours of Monday morning, when he wrote on X: “I don’t want to believe the rumour that they have told me now in the paddock. No.”

Less than a day later, Red Bull’s Spanish X account posted a ‘shush’ emoji. Many would love to see Alonso given an opportunity to shine in the grid’s most-competitive car, but Horner suggests that there is nothing in the speculation.

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“Checo has an agreement with us for next year and that’s our intention for him to be in the car in 2024,” he said in Mexico. “We’ll give him all the support that we can to ensure that he finishes second, but there’s no prerequisite that, if he doesn’t finish second [in the Drivers’ Championship], he’s out.”

Alonso has so far avoided the subject, but told Fox Sports that he is not considering retirement at this stage, despite having turned 42 years old earlier this season. “I like being competitive, I like being fast and I hate to lose,” said the Aston Martin man.

“So you see it’s not very hard to motivate me once I’m inside the car. Maybe now I’m a bit weaker than when I was 20 years old, but when you age you know your body way better. You know which training to do, when you feel tired, what things to avoid, and that is how you make up for it.

“You make up for strength with wisdom. For now no, [I am not thinking of retirement]. I know I’m in the closing side of my career, but for now, I don’t see it. I don’t have a date to put an end to my career.”

The swap deal in question would see Perez return to Aston Martin, who axed him in 2020 when they were known as Racing Point. It would also give Alonso a route out of the team, with a superb start to the season followed by a rapid decline in pace and performance.

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