Red Bull urged to follow Mercedes’ lead as F1 legend tees up major twist

F1 legend Ross Brawn has urged Red Bull to follow in the footsteps of Mercedes and have two ‘number one’ drivers in their line-up next season, suggesting that Christian Horner should think about letting Sergio Perez go at the end of the year.

Perez’s long-term F1 future has been an ongoing debate throughout the season with the Mexican struggling to hold a candle to team-mate Max Verstappen’s performances and results. Since claiming his second victory in the space of four races at the start of the campaign, the 33-year-old has failed to register another.

With Checo now 266 points behind his team-mate, questions have been raised about the plausibility of keeping him in the second seat for 2024, especially if McLaren are to pose a more consistent and substantial threat in the Constructors’ Championship fight. 

Discussing the state of play at Red Bull with talkSPORT, Brawn said: “Even though they have this domination at the moment, you will see it in time, and we’re seeing little indications. I mean McLaren with Norris and occasionally Piastri, they’re knocking at the door, keeping them honest, let’s put it that way.

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“I think over this winter, I’m optimistic that there will be a reset. When you’re at the front, you have the advantage of being able to start the design of your new car earlier and that’s when that domination can sometimes run for several years.

“What I want to see quite frankly is someone more competitive in the other car because unfortunately, Sergio’s not putting up much competition for Max. 

“And even when you get a dominant car, if you can get someone in the other car who’s giving them a hard time and we think of Rosberg and Hamilton, that was a great year when Mercedes dominated.”

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Even if Brawn does get his wish and Perez departs the team, it is unlikely that a true ‘number one’ driver will be brought in to partner Verstappen. Instead, Daniel Ricciardo will likely return to the Red Bull team on the understanding that he is to play the ‘number two’ driver role.

This viewpoint was confirmed by Horner himself earlier this season. He told Sky Sports F1: “If you put too extreme alphas in a team it’ll tear the team apart. So you always want to achieve I think the right balance. That’s one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned.”

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