Red Bull will do all they can to help Sergio Perez rebuild his confidence and secure second place in the Formula One championship, team boss Christian Horner has said.
The next three races are in Texas, Mexico and Brazil where Perez can count on strong support as the only Latin American driver.
Dominant Red Bull and now-triple world champion Max Verstappen have already won both titles this season but have never ended a campaign with their drivers one-two in the standings.
Perez is second, 30 points clear of Mercedes’ seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton, but his form has slumped with only five points in the last three races including a sprint in Qatar last weekend.
“I think we really need to sit down with Checo (Perez)because we know what he’s capable of and he’s not hitting that form at the moment,” Horner told reporters.
“We desperately need him to find that form to keep this second place in the championship. It’s frustrating that he’s only come out of the weekend with one point… even starting from the back of the grid there was an opportunity to score heavily or decently.”
Perez’s main problem has been beating the supremely confident man on the other side of the garage.
Verstappen has won 14 of 17 races so far and scored nearly twice as many points as the Mexican, who crashed out of Saturday’s sprint and was 10th in Sunday’s race after starting from the pit lane.
The Dutch driver has made clear he intends to try and win all the remaining races.
Horner suggested Perez had got into “a bit of a spiral” mentally.
“Sport at the highest echelon is a mental game as much as a physical game and I think Checo’s mentioned he’s working with a coach in that area, I think that’s what we need to unlock with him to give him his confidence,” he said.
Horner compared Red Bull’s situation to rivals who had two closely-matched drivers.
Perez and Verstappen were level 2-2 on wins until Miami, when Verstappen started a run of 10 wins in a row.
“The most important thing for us is winning both the championships. We’ve done that and the next best thing after that would be to have both your drivers first and second,” said Horner.
“You can see Mercedes have a pair, McLaren have a pair, Ferrari have a pair that are quite tight between the respective drivers. We had that at the early point of the year but as the season’s gone on it’s become more varied.”
“We can’t afford to have a big split because if the grid continues to concertina next year, we need both drivers delivering at the top of their game.”
Perez has a contract for 2024 but Red Bull also have experienced Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who previously raced for them, making a comeback with sister team AlphaTauri and looking to move back up.