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Perez admits it would be ‘a blow for the team’ if Verstappen leaves Red Bull amid driver market rumours

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Sergio Perez has given his take on speculation linking team mate Max Verstappen with a move away from Red Bull, saying the operation are in “a very good position” as things stand and that it would be “a blow” if the Dutchman departs.

Despite having a contract with Red Bull that runs through 2028, rumours have emerged that Verstappen could look to race elsewhere on the grid in the future, with Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff commenting that he “would love” to have the triple world champion as part of his line-up.

READ MORE: Wolff ‘would love’ to have Verstappen as there’s no team who ‘wouldn’t do handstands’ to sign him

Amid off-track noise at Red Bull in recent times, Perez was asked about Verstappen’s contract and whether there are any exit clauses he is aware of – a question the Mexican initially brushed aside.

“I don’t know what clause Max has in his contract, I think it’s best you ask him,” he said. “I think Max, as far as I know, has a contract with the team and is fully committed with the team.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 21: Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing attends the

Perez was speaking to media during the Thursday drivers’ press conference in Australia

“The rest… I think it’s not for me to comment, it’s nothing to do with me. I’m focusing on my decisions and what I have to do. For us to be talking about other drivers when we don’t know any facts… I don’t see any point to do so.”

When pushed on how the dynamic might change if Verstappen leaves, Perez added: “I think the team is in a very strong position, with the results we’re currently having, the harmony that there is in the team, I think to achieve that it just takes a lot of years, probably.

READ MORE: Ricciardo insists he’s ‘not thinking about’ Red Bull seat for 2025 as F1 driver market heats up

“Right now, the dynamic, everyone in the team is working really well together, the whole engineering group is really united. You can see that on track in how efficient we’ve been in the last years. I don’t see any reason to change it. It would obviously be a blow for the team if Max were to leave.”

As touched on above, Red Bull have made another stellar start to the season in 2024, with Perez backing Verstappen up in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to give the squad a perfect one-two record so far.

Race Highlights: 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Perez is also confident that there is “a lot more to come” from his side moving forward as he looks to get closer to Verstappen in qualifying and race-trim and add to his tally of three pole positions and six Grand Prix victories.

“I think we’re in a much better place in terms of understanding,” he commented. “I think when the weekend isn’t going your way, getting back and understanding what things worked for us and what doesn’t, I think we’re a lot better in that regard.

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“We’ve been exploring a lot, especially towards the end of last year, we were exploring so much with the set-up of the car and we got to a point where I think right now we really know which direction, which set-ups work for us. I think we’re in a much better position.

“Also, we’re starting the weekend a lot better, we’re making a lot more progress during the weekend, so overall I feel a lot more together with the car, with the team for the rest of the year, compared to last year.”

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