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Marko: Sainz form ‘fascinating’ but Perez delivering the goods

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Helmut Marko has suggested that Sergio Perez’s seat at Red Bull Racing is perhaps less precarious than many believe, even as Australian GP winner Carlos Sainz has entered the frame as a potential replacement for the Mexican for 2025.

While whispers of Max Verstappen making a shocking switch to Mercedes still linger, Red Bull's primary focus remains on securing the best possible teammate for the Dutchman in 2025.

And Sainz, a former Red Bull junior driver, has emerged as a strong contender r-thanks to his recent performances.

The Spaniard’s dominant victory in Australia, just two weeks after undergoing an emergency appendectomy in Jeddah, has certainly caught Red Bull's attention, with team boss Christian Horner not ruling out a move for Sainz.

However, Marko isn't ready to dismiss Perez. The Austrian is also keeping a watchful eye on Sainz but praised Perez for the 34-year-old's strong start to his 2024 campaign.

“Of course, his [Sainz] form is fascinating. But it should be noted that Checo delivered three good races this year,” Marko told Laola1.

“The reason why he fell behind in Melbourne was due to the damaged underbody and tyre degradation.

“His only weakness is in qualifying, if he can improve there, there is no need to think. The atmosphere in the team is very good, also as far as he is concerned.”

In addition to Sainz, both RB’s Yuki Tsundoa and Daniel Ricciardo are self-proclaimed candidates for Perez’s plum seat. But so far, the Japanese charger has a clear upper hand over his teammate, a fact that “puzzles” Marko.

"We are puzzled over that, he is generally slower than Yuki," he said, assessing Ricciardo’s efforts year-to-date.

"Something is not working for him, which is surprising, because during winter testing he was doing just fine.

"The question at the moment is: 'Has Yuki become a high-flyer or is Daniel so weak?' After three races, on three completely different circuits, there is no objective answer to that yet."

As for Verstappen’s unexpected DNF in Melbourne, Marko admitted that he hadn’t lost sleep over the mishap, suggesting that normal business should resume for the three-time world champion in Japan.

“Max’s brake broke, the exact cause is still being investigated. But it’s not the brake caliper. It’s more of an assembly issue, but that will be checked,” he said.

“I have no worries for Japan, that’s not a problem. Suzuka is a power track that suits us, Max is always great there. I’m very optimistic.”

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The post Marko: Sainz form ‘fascinating’ but Perez delivering the goods appeared first on F1i.com.

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