After the first three races of the 2023 Formula 1 season, Red Bull drivers, two-time champion Max Verstappen and Mexico’s Sergio Perez dominate the standings in the top two places.
Verstappen is chasing a hat-trick of championships and with two race wins and a second place, he leads the table with 69 points, while Checo has a first, a second and a fifth to stand at 54 points so far, nine more than third-placed Fernando Alonso on 45.
However, far from peace and happiness reigning in the Red Bull team, which is the overall leader in the constructors’ championship, it seems that the good results between the two drivers have provoked an internal feud and a series of rumors about a possible conflict. Michael Bleekemolen, a 73-year-old Dutch driver who was part of Formula 1 in the 1977 and 1978 seasons, revealed who is to blame for the alleged infighting between the Red Bull drivers.
“The media are a bit to blame for it. It’s all combined with emotional statements,” Bleekemolen told GP Fans.
“Sentences are cut and pasted in a different way. Then suddenly they turn into hateful comments to each other. Still, I think they both want to finish for each other.”
Checo Perez and his continuity at Red Bull
One of the main rumors surrounding the Mexican driver is his possible departure at the end of the current season, and that his place would be taken by the team’s third driver, Daniel Ricciardo.
Another former driver, Spaniard Ricardo de la Rosa, said that, contrary to what is said in the media, he is confident that the Mexican will stay with Red Bull for at least one more season, due to the enormous growth that Checo has shown in the 2022 season and his start in the current campaign.
“He will stay with Red Bull because he has been driving stronger in every race since his arrival,” De la Rosa told the F1 Nation podcast.
“He has shown he is able to adapt to the car and the team. That’s not easy and he’s an example of someone who has done it.”