Sergio Perez, known affectionately as “Checo” to fans, has firmly denied recent rumors that he plans to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the 2022 season. The rumors circulated heavily on social media and various news outlets over the past week, suggesting Perez would make a retirement announcement at his home Grand Prix in Mexico City this weekend.
However, the Red Bull driver has categorically dismissed this speculation, stating unequivocally that he intends to continue racing for several more years.
Origins of the Retirement Speculation
The retirement rumors appear to have originated from an unverified social media post earlier this week. The post claimed that Red Bull had informed Perez they would not retain him for the 2024 season, breaking an existing multi-year contract. It went on to state that Perez had chosen to announce his retirement rather than search for a drive with another team.
This sparked a flurry of speculation that the 32-year-old Mexican was ready to hang up his helmet at the end of this season. The rumors gained traction rapidly, likely due to the coincidental timing of the Mexican Grand Prix. Many fans assumed Perez would take the opportunity to announce his retirement in front of a home crowd if the reports were accurate.
Strong Denials from Perez and Red Bull
However, both Perez and Red Bull Racing have strenuously denied the allegations. Sources close to Perez dismissed the rumors as “absolutely false,” while the team itself moved to quash the speculation entirely.
In a statement, Red Bull said, “We have a contract with Checo until the end of 2024, and we are very happy with him. All rumors about early retirement are totally false.”
Perez also reiterated his commitment, saying, “I have a contract with Red Bull until the end of 2024, and I fully intend to continue racing for Red Bull during this time.”
Will Perez stay at Red Bull?
Not only did Perez deny plans to retire imminently, he expressed a strong desire to extend his Red Bull contract even further.
“I want to stay at Red Bull for three or four more years,” Perez stated. “I’m very motivated to continue racing at the top level and challenging for more wins, podiums, and hopefully the world championship.”
Perez joined Red Bull in 2021 after several seasons racing for Force India/Racing Point. The 2022 campaign has been his most successful in F1 to date, with two race wins and several podium finishes.
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While teammate Max Verstappen has already secured this year’s Driver’s Championship, Perez remains in contention for 2nd in the standings. He currently sits in 3rd, just two points behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Strong Showing in 2022 Boosts Case for Extension
Perez’s strong performances this season will certainly help his case for a multi-year extension with Red Bull. The team has praised his role in securing the Constructors’ Championship, where Red Bull holds a commanding 157-point lead over Ferrari.
Team principal Christian Horner has spoken very positively about Perez’s contributions. “Checo has done a tremendous job this year,” Horner said recently. “He’s playing a crucial role in our success, scoring vital points and supporting Max.”
Perez has proven adept at both maximizing his own results and assisting teammate Verstappen strategically. His consistency and teamwork ethic have made him highly valued at Red Bull.
While Verstappen is clearly Red Bull’s #1 driver, Perez provides an excellent supporting role. Extending his contract ensures continuity and stability for the team as they target more championships in the coming seasons.
Home Mexican Grand Prix Crucial for Perez
This weekend’s race in Mexico City now takes on added significance for Perez after the retirement speculation. A strong performance in front of his home fans would further validate Red Bull’s faith in him and boost his leverage in contract talks.
Perez has extra motivation to succeed at this event. He became the first Mexican to stand on the podium in over 40 years when he finished 3rd back in 2021.
A race win here would be the highlight of his career so far. Perez has previously called the Mexican Grand Prix his “most important weekend of the year.”
While the retirement rumors have proved unfounded, Perez will be keen to show he remains highly motivated and capable of delivering results. A strong pace and perhaps a podium or victory in Mexico City would cap a week where Perez has already emphatically silenced speculation about his future.