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Horner in ‘no rush’ to confirm Red Bull’s 2025 line-up as he explains Perez’s change in approach

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Christian Horner has insisted that Red Bull are not in a hurry when it comes to confirming their driver line-up for the 2025 season, saying they are in “a fortunate position” regarding the driver market.

While Max Verstappen is contracted with Red Bull through 2028 – which has not stopped Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff naming him as a target for the Silver Arrows – Perez’s current deal expires at the end of the season.

READ MORE: ‘His time would be better spent focusing on the team’ – Horner criticises Wolff’s comments on Verstappen’s F1 future

After a competitive start to the campaign that has seen Perez edge closer to team mate Verstappen and claim four podiums in five races, the Mexican recently expressed hope for a swift resolution to his F1 future.

However, Red Bull Team Principal Horner sees no rush, explaining during the Chinese Grand Prix weekend that while he and Red Bull are pleased with Perez’s progress, a final decision over his future is some time away.

“Of course, he would like to make an announcement tomorrow, undoubtedly,” said Horner. “But we as a team aren’t in a particular rush. We’re in a fortunate position where many drivers would obviously like to drive for the team.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull

Perez has closed the gap to team mate Verstappen this season after a rollercoaster 2023

“But we’re happy with the pairing that we have, we just want to make sure that the level of consistency that Checo has started with this season maintains and, in due course, we’ll evaluate those options.

“As I say, at this point in time, we’re very happy with the line-up that we have, so there’s no imminent rush to announce the full driver line-up for 2025. As for other drivers, it’s pure speculation.”

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On that note, Horner addressed whether former Red Bull junior Carlos Sainz, who has enjoyed a fine start to 2024 with Ferrari but will be replaced by Lewis Hamilton at the end of the year, is in his thoughts – amid reports of interest from soon-to-arrive manufacturer Audi.

“We have no idea if and what Audi have offered Carlos, who’s a key driver that’s on the open market,” Horner commented. “So, it’s only natural that there’s going to be significant interest.

“I’m sure Audi would be foolish not to consider a driver of his quality amongst others that have seats available, but it would be improper to disclose what offers are made. That’s something that’s not been disclosed to us, as to what offers have been made other teams.”

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 04: Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari looks on in the Paddock during previews

Sainz emerged as a key player in the driver market after news of his upcoming Ferrari exit

For the time being, Red Bull will continue to evaluate Perez’s performances alongside Verstappen, with Horner answering why he thinks the 34-year-old has upped his game so far this season.

“Probably because he’s out of contract!” Horner joked, before opening up on Perez’s efforts behind the scenes. “No, I think he’s worked hard over the winter. He’s come in with a change, perhaps, slightly to his approach to Grand Prix weekends.

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“He’s been very close [to Verstappen] so far this season, particularly at a track like Suzuka where last year he struggled quite a bit, but certainly this year he was very competitive.”

Horner added: “He’s put a lot of hours in on the sim and his approach going into a Grand Prix weekend, and set-up and so on, has converged with his team-mate. So, he’s applying himself well and has driven some good races so far this year.”

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