Red Bull Racing opened talks with Sergio Perez on a contract extension earlier this month as the Formula One team set a timeline to complete a deal sometime this year. (More Sports News)
It didn’t even take his win in the Monaco Grand Prix to complete a deal.
Red Bull said Tuesday that Perez has signed a two-year extension to remain teammates with reigning F1 champion Max Verstappen through 2024. The team said the deal was signed last weekend, but before Perez won Sunday in Monaco.
“Checo has done a fantastic job. Time and again he has proved himself to not only be a magnificent team player, but as his level of comfort has grown he has become a real force to be reckoned with at the sharp end of the grid,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said.
Perez is the most successful Mexican driver in F1 history. He joined Red Bull last season and finished a career-best fourth in the driver standings. Perez won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, scored four podiums, and was a selfless teammate to Verstappen in Red Bull’s successful championship fight with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes.
In the December season finale that decided the F1 championship, Perez dutifully held up Hamilton during the race to give Verstappen a chance to win.
It was part of his role as the second driver on the team, and Perez was called on again two weeks ago at the Spanish Grand Prix when Red Bull team orders demanded Perez cede the lead — and the victory — to Verstappen.
A team talk after the race in Spain convinced Perez that Red Bull would allow him to race for wins and the contract extension was completed before his win at Monaco, his first victory of the year.
“This year he has taken another step and the gap to world champion Max has closed significantly,” Horner said. “For us, holding onto his pace, race craft and experience was a no-brainer and we are delighted that Checo will continue to race for the team until 2024. In partnership with Max we believe we have a driver pairing that can bring us the biggest prizes in F1.”
The Monaco victory pushed Perez past Pedro Rodriguez as the most successful driver in Mexican F1 history. Perez was wearing a Rodriguez helmet in Monaco, where he scored his third career F1 victory.
“This has been an incredible week, winning the Monaco Grand Prix is a dream for any driver and then to follow that with announcing I will continue with the team until 2024 just makes me extremely happy,” Perez said. “I feel completely at home here. We are working very well together and my relationship with Max, on and off the track, is definitely helping drive us forward even more.”