F1 News: Red Bull Chief Confirms This Driver Could Replace Sergio Perez in 2026

Christian Horner has suggested that Yuki Tsunoda could potentially replace Sergio Perez in 2026
May 5, 2024; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; RB driver Daniel Ricciardo (3) and RB racing driver Yuki Tsunoda (22) walk in the F1 Village before the F1 Miami Grand Prix at Miami International Autodrome. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2024; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; RB driver Daniel Ricciardo (3) and RB racing driver Yuki Tsunoda (22) walk in the F1 Village before the F1 Miami Grand Prix at Miami International Autodrome. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Red Bull Racing's team principal, Christian Horner, provided insightful commentary on the future of Sergio Perez at Red Bull following the Mexican driver’s contract extension until the end of 2026. This extension, secured just before the Canadian Grand Prix, aligns with Formula 1’s transition to next-generation engine and technical regulations slated for the same period. But before fans of the driver can celebrate, it's been confirmed that it's a 1+1 contract, and Yuki Tsunoda could be replacing him after 2025.

Within the details of Perez’s renewal, Horner hinted that while the contract spans two years, it encompasses specific clauses that inject a degree of flexibility concerning the continuation of his role. This flexibility reflects Red Bull Racing's judicious blend of commitment and adaptability in managing its team's dynamics against the backdrop of the sport’s evolving technical landscape. Horner described the contract structure succinctly during the Viaplay broadcast: “Well, 1+1=2, so it’s a two-year contract. As with any contract, there’s a lot in it, but that’s, of course, between the driver and the team."

Parallel discussions at Red Bull also extend to Yuki Tsunoda of RB, formerly AlphaTauri, the sister team traditionally known as a stepping stone for Red Bull’s main team. Tsunoda’s impressive performance has secured him another year with the team. Horner underscored the integrated strategy within the Red Bull family:

“We have decided to extend Checo for one more year, but in the meantime, we also wanted to exercise the option of Yuki. He is doing great at RB at the moment. So yes, he will stay for another year," Horner told the Sky Sports F1 broadcast.

This strategic approach does not just apply to Perez and Tsunoda. Speculation about Daniel Ricciardo's future with RB points to a potential replacement by reserve driver Liam Lawson by 2025 if Ricciardo fails to meet ongoing performance expectations.

Speaking broadly about the assortment of drivers under the expansive Red Bull umbrella, Horner confirmed: “They are all Red Bull drivers."

Looking ahead, it’s clear that Red Bull's driver management strategy, particularly around Perez’s contract, is interwoven with immediate performance goals and the broader, strategic adaptations required by the pending technical evolution of Formula 1. Red Bull seems poised to maintain a flexible yet strategic approach, ensuring that its lineup is not only competitive presently but also primed for the challenges of 2026 and beyond.


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Alex Harrington

ALEX HARRINGTON

Alex is the editor-in-chief of F1 editorial. He fell in love with F1 at the young age of 7 after hearing the scream of naturally aspirated V10s echo through his grandparents' lounge. That year he watched as Michael Schumacher took home his fifth championship win with Ferrari, and has been unable to look away since.