No Reason To Replace Perez Right Now, Says Montoya

Red Bull Racing’s sister team, AlphaTauri announced the first driver change of the 2023 F1 season, replacing rookie Nyck de Vries with eight-time grand prix winner, Daniel Ricciardo.

Ricciardo, who started the season as Red Bull’s reserve driver, has been loaned to AlphaTauri for the remainder of the season and will drive in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Helmut Marko’s axing of an underperforming driver will be a cause for concern for Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez, who despite a promising start to the season, has been far from his best in the last few races.

The Mexican driver has won two races this season but has only made it to the podium in one of the last five races (he finished third in the Austrian Grand Prix). His drop in performance has led to speculation that he could be replaced and with rumours running around Red Bull having contacted Charles LeClerc, Perez is under a lot of pressure.

Former Williams and McLaren driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, gave us his opinion on the situation, saying that Red Bull shouldn’t look to replace Perez right now. The Colombian motorsport legend also gave an insight into Helmut Marko’s tough approach and how it comes with the intention of improving the driver.

No Reason To Replace Checo Right Now But Maybe In Two-Three Years

Montoya gave his reasoning as to why it doesn’t make sense to replace Perez as it would be risky to bring in someone new and disrupt the relationship with Max Verstappen, the bonafide lead driver.

“I don't know. There is no reason to put another driver in instead of Checo Perez. There is no reason to take a risk with something that can disrupt the relationship.”

“Having Checo as a teammate gives a really nice atmosphere because Max is not under any kind of pressure.”

"Sometimes Checo can bring the A-game and wake Max up and make him go 'ooh I really need to stop playing around.' It works well at the moment."

He then says that maybe in two-three years, Red Bull can look to bring in a hungrier driver who can push Verstappen as it’s likely that he could become complacent.

“Maybe in a few years, two-three years, they need to change and find somebody because Max will go through a phase and that's normal. He's still going to be amazing but he's going to change a little bit.”

Somebody maybe needs to come in with a lot more hunger at that point to get the job done and that's a part of the deal.” 

“The media love poking. It's like a dog with a bone and people will react to the story.”

Helmut Marko Puts Pressure To Get The Best Out Of You

Montoya also gave his take on Helmut Marko’s tough love style saying that it comes from a position where he wants the driver to perform and do their best.

Positive encouragement is not Marko’s style but what he does is to bring the best out of the driver.

"The way Helmut works with stuff like this, he's not putting pressure because he wants to fire you but he puts pressure on you to perform. He's looking to get the most out of you."

"He's not patting you on the back and saying 'you're the best, you can do it'. No, he's like 'get your shit together or you're out'."

Image Credits: IMAGO/ Motorsport Images