Formula 1 Racing

Who should replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull? Our writers have their say

Yuki Tsunoda, Visa Cash App RB F1 Team

Sergio Perez is under more pressure than ever to bounce back from a disastrous run of races if he wants to retain his Red Bull Formula 1 seat.

With team boss Christian Horner saying it is “unsustainable” for the Mexican to continue to perform as he is right now, our writers look at the possible candidates to replace him should he lose his drive.

It’s time to promote Tsunoda

The F1 world tends to underestimate Yuki Tsunoda – and that’s more a fact than an opinion.

This image of the shouty guy who crashes all the time – which doesn’t at all reflect who he is now – overshadows a lot of what he has achieved, not just since his first year in F1, but since the moment he moved to Europe.

Yuki Tsunoda, Visa Cash App RB F1 Team

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Learning the language, and adapting to a new environment and culture is a huge challenge in itself, and Tsunoda has combined that with some amazing performances in junior categories. And it was his raw speed that made up for a lot during the time when he couldn’t even properly communicate with his engineers.

What needs to be recognised more now is how much work Tsunoda has put in since then to get himself to the level he is at now in all areas, be it physical condition, understanding of the car and the set-up – and that’s what has left the biggest impression on those who work with him in Faenza. There were times when he literally turned up at the factory every day between races.

For all the funny videos on social media – including one where drivers talk about how they dream of winning the title and then it cuts to a misleading shot of Tsunoda saying he wants to open a restaurant – he’s shown a lot of determination – and that has resulted in a quality step forward this year.

He’s been the fastest of the two VCARB drivers for most of the season so far; he’s in his fourth year of F1; he’s got experience and the speed is still there, so why not reward that with a promotion?

Red Bull has done crazier things in the past, promoting Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly just a year and a half after their respective F1 debuts, or Alex Albon after just six months. For me, Tsunoda is a lot more prepared than they were.

Yes, there are still a few rough edges – and it shows from time to time this year. But of the four Red Bull drivers, he’s clearly the second-best now. So why not? It’s hard to imagine him being worse than what Perez is showing now. — Oleg Karpov

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