Will Red Bull Racing’s dominance end? F1 legend Alain Prost discusses Verstappen and Pérez’s rivalry

Alain Prost, four-time world champion, assured that the Mexican driver has shown he has the arguments to fight for victories, despite the team's focus on the Dutchman.
  1. Alain Prost, four-time Formula 1 champion, believes there could be a crisis brewing within Red Bull Racing due to the competition between Sergio Checo Pérez and Max Verstappen.
  2. Prost stated that the team’s success had been largely based on Verstappen, but Pérez’s arrival and impressive performance could lead to a direct battle for victories.
  3. With the 2023 season underway, the dispute for the driver’s title is expected to focus on Pérez as Verstappen’s level remains unmatched. However, the outcome of the season remains uncertain as the development of the RB19 car is still a factor.

Despite Red Bull Racing‘s dominance and the good performance of its drivers, Alain Prost opened the possibility of a crisis within the team. According to the four-time Formula 1 champion, the competition between Sergio Checo Pérez and Max Verstappen would be one of the most important factors to cause instability in the team.

The 68-year-old Frenchman, a hallowed motorsport legend, said that the Austrian team’s performance revolves around the Dutchman, who already has two world championships. However, the Mexican’s presence and performance have shown that a direct battle for victories can be unleashed.

In his third year as a member of Red Bull Racing, Perez has proven to be at the height of the team and has been a fundamental part in the achievement of Verstappen’s titles in 2021 and 2022, and of course, in the constructors’ championship in 2022, which meant ending a nine-year drought.

Max Verstappen lidera la clasificación con 69 puntos, y Checo Péres le sigue con 54. Foto: REUTERS/Rula Rouhana
Max Verstappen leads the standings with 69 points, with Checo Péres following with 54. Photo: REUTERS/Rula Rouhana

“At Red Bull, the whole system is based on one driver – Max Verstappen. In the past, this approach has worked well, but now we are seeing the first signs of exhaustion. Checo Perez has already settled into the team and shown he can win. Now he doesn’t want to take a step back so as not to lose his place,” Prost was quoted by L’Equipe.

With three dates of the 2023 calendar already completed, RB19’s superiority has been clear. Three consecutive victories—Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Australia—have left a haul of 123 points, almost double that of their closest pursuer (Aston Martin with 65). In the individual standings, the top remains in order with the two Red Bull drivers at the top – Verstappen with 69 and Checo with 54.

“Even if Red Bull’s dominance continues, I think the next few weeks will be very important for the reigning world champion (Verstappen). It is clear that at any moment, anything can happen because, even if you are on top, a crisis may soon be waiting for you,” added the four-time world champion.

Perez’s arrival at the Austrian team marked the beginning of a new era in Formula 1. Upon his arrival in 2021, the Mexican drove his teammate Verstappen with punctual actions to become champion for the first time and cut a streak of six years in which Lewis Hamilton was champion in a row.

La llegada de Sergio Pérez a Red Bull fue fundamental para que Red Bull consiguiera vencer a Lewis Hamilton y Mercedes. Foto: REUTERS/Luca Bruno
Sergio Pérez’s arrival at Red Bull was fundamental for Red Bull to beat Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. Photo: REUTERS/Luca Bruno

A year later, the support for the Dutchman helped him to repeat as champion. However, the biggest change was seen in the constructors’ championship, which they won with a wide lead, which meant the end of Mercedes’ golden era (the Germans managed to win for eight years in a row).

Now, with the 2023 season ahead, it seems that the dispute for the drivers’ title will focus on what the Mexican driver can do, as it is a reality that Verstappen’s level has not been matched by any other competitor and only Checo, with the same car, could be able to face him. At the moment, there is a difference in points between them.

Verstappen himself has pointed out that, at this point in the season, only his teammate is the rival with whom he could do battle. However, the year is still at an early stage, and the variant of where the development of the RB19 will go (improvements based on Max or Sergio) must be considered, an answer that Alain Prost is already certain about.