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Sergio Perez: Red Bull driver extends contract to end of 2026 F1 season with new two-year term

Red Bull extend Sergio Perez's deal at the team for the 2025 and 2026 Formula 1 seasons; Carlos Sainz left with choice of Williams or Sauber; watch the Canadian GP this weekend, with every session live on Sky Sports F1

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Sky Sports News' Craig Slater explains how the news of Sergio Perez's two-year contract extension at Red Bull impacts the Formula 1 driver market.

Sergio Perez has secured a two-year contract extension at Red Bull that will see him continue to race for F1's world champions until the end of the 2026 season.

The 34-year-old Mexican has been Max Verstappen's team-mate since joining in 2021.

Perez's renewal ends the hopes several drivers - including Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo - had of joining the team that has dominated F1 over the past two years and continues to lead both world championships in 2024 despite a growing challenge from rivals.

"Now is an important time to confirm our line-up for 2025 and we are very pleased to continue working together with Checo," said team principal Christian Horner in a move that comes ahead of the Canadian GP this weekend.

"Continuity and stability are important for the team and both Checo and Max are a successful and robust partnership, securing our first ever one-two finish for the team in the championship last year."

Perez, who has claimed five of his six F1 career wins at Red Bull and helped them win the Constructors' Championship in 2022 and 2023, said: "I am delighted to be staying here to continue our journey together and contribute to this team's great history for two more years.

"Being part of the team is an immense challenge, and one I love. We have a great challenge this year and I have full trust in the whole team that the future is bright here and I am excited to be part of it."

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Verstappen's Red Bull contract runs to the end of the 2028 season, although speculation lingers that the triple world champion could yet leave at some point before then with Mercedes' Toto Wolff making public his serious interest in signing the Dutchman to replace the Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 at the recent Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Verstappen said: "It's like I say - I'm good, I'm relaxed, I'm happy and my contract is until 2028."

Image: A few flashpoints aside, Perez has dovetailed well with Verstappen at Red Bull

Why two more years for Perez?

Although it had become increasingly clear in recent weeks that Perez was edging towards a contract renewal for 2025, the announcement of a two-year term nonetheless represents something of a surprise.

But Perez's value and contribution to the team on and off track has regularly been praised by Horner, who had always said the seat remained the Mexican's to lose.

With the team opting for the continuity choice next to Verstappen, the extended deal means Perez will also stay on for the first year of F1's new big regulation change, when Red Bull are developing their own engine for the first time.

With Red Bull's 2024 car again proving dominant in the early races of this year, Perez had started this season brightly and finished second to Verstappen in three of this season's first four grands prix.

Sergio Perez's 2024 results so far

Grand Prix Started Finished
Bahrain 5th 2nd
Saudi Arabia 3rd 2nd
Australia 6th 5th
Japan 2nd 2nd
China 2nd 3rd
Miami 4th 4th
Emilia Romagna 11th 8th
Monaco 16th DNF

But, with Ferrari and McLaren in particular having closed the gap on Red Bull since then, Perez has failed to finish on the podium in the last three races - and failed to qualify in the top 10 at the last two.

After dropping out of Q1 last time out in Monaco, Perez was involved in a huge crash on the first lap of the race after contact with Kevin Magnussen's Haas.

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There was a big crash between Sergio Perez and Haas' Kevin Magnussen at the start of the Monaco Grand Prix, which also took out the car of Nico Hulkenberg.

Perez has slipped out of the top four of the Verstappen-led Drivers' Championship behind the Ferrari drivers and McLaren's Lando Norris.

Horner referenced the Mexican's recent dip in form in Red Bull's statement confirming the extended deal, although backed Perez to hit back.

"Checo has had a strong start to 2024 with second places in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Japan and then his podium in China," added Horner.

"The past few races have been tough, there is convergence on the grid, but we are confident in Checo and look forward to his return to proven form and performance, that we so often see."

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Sergio Perez remains tight-lipped on his future after stating he handles his negotiations behind closed doors with everything remaining an option.

Perez added: "We have a great challenge this year and I have full trust in the whole team that the future is bright here and I am excited to be part of it.

"I want to thank everyone for all the trust they are putting in me, it is a lot and I want to pay it back with excellent results on track, and off track. I think we have a lot of work to do, we have a lot more championships to win together."

Although Verstappen has been absolutely dominant in the team-mate head-to-head - Perez last out-qualified the Dutchman 26 races ago, at the 2023 Miami GP - Red Bull have been pleased with the generally harmonious intra-team dynamic between the two drivers during a period of stunning success at the team.

Perez famously played a key role in the 2021 title-deciding Abu Dhabi, holding up race leader Hamilton mid-way through the race, before the controversial Safety Car conclusion that ultimately swung the title Verstappen's way.

He finished fourth in the Drivers' Championship in his debut season at the team, improving to third in 2022. He then finished runner-up to to Verstappen in 2023 despite a mid-season nosedive in form that briefly appeared to call his immediate future at the team into question and, at the very least, ramp up the pressure for a 2025 contract renewal.

What does this mean for the rest of the driver market?

Perez's extended deal ends hopes Carlos Sainz had of joining the world champions.

The Spaniard, who has lost his Ferrari seat to Hamilton, had appeared in the running for a return to the Red Bull stable after a strong start to the season but their decision to stick with Perez appears to have distilled Sainz's 2025 options into a straight call between Williams and Sauber, who are morphing into Audi for 2026.

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Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 Podcast, David Croft and Simon Lazenby discuss potential destinations for Carlos Sainz in 2025 following his exit from Ferrari.

After making his own return to the Red Bull fold last year, initially as a third driver before taking over a race seat at RB, Ricciardo had described it as his "dream" to return to the senior outfit he left of his own accord for Renault after 2018.

However, Ricciardo's candidature to replace Perez has been undone by the form of RB team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, who has outperformed the experienced Australian so far.

Despite that form, Tsunoda himself has never been thought to be in the running for the main Red Bull team as an alternative to Perez. Nonetheless, the in-form Japanese driver, who has scored 19 of RB's 24 points this season, has been linked with possible moves to other teams.

F1 2025 field

Team Driver Driver
Red Bull Max Verstappen Sergio Perez
Ferrari Lewis Hamilton Charles Leclerc
McLaren Lando Norris Oscar Piastri
Mercedes George Russell ???
Aston Martin Fernando Alonso Lance Stroll
RB ??? ???
Haas ??? ???
Williams Alex Albon ???
Alpine ??? ???
Sauber Nico Hulkenberg ???

Nine seats remain unfilled on the 20-car 2025 grid.

Esteban Ocon's end-of-season exit from Alpine was announced on Monday.

Sky Sports F1's live Canadian GP schedule

Thursday June 6
7.30pm: Drivers' Press Conference

Friday June 7
6pm: Canadian GP Practice One (session starts at 6.30pm)
8pm: The F1 Show
9.45pm: Canadian GP Practice Two (session starts at 10pm)

Montreal hosts the ninth round of the 2024 F1 season with the Canadian Grand Prix

Saturday June 8
5.15pm: Canadian GP Practice Three (session starts at 5.30pm)
8pm: Canadian GP Qualifying build-up
9pm: Canadian GP Qualifying
11pm: Ted's Qualifying Notebook

Sunday June 9
5.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday - Canadian GP build-up
9pm: Chequered Flag - Canadian GP reaction
10pm: Ted's Notebook

Formula 1 leaves Europe for the final time before the summer break as the championship moves on to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. Watch every session at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this weekend live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday's race at 7pm. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - No contract, cancel anytime

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