While Daniel Ricciardo waits in the wings, David Coulthard advises Sergio Perez to ‘update his software’.
Despite the same equipment as his illustrious teammate, the Mexican driver was only able to win 2 victories last season, compared to 15 for Max Verstappen.
Additionally, Perez couldn’t hold off Charles Leclerc in the battle for second place, leaving the Austrian side yet to score a 1-2 world championship.
Apart from the relative disappointment of his performances on track, at the end of the season it was clear that all was not well between Perez and Verstappen, the Dutchman clearly upset by the incident involving the Mexican during qualifying in Monaco which deprived of the world champion pole.
In Brazil, Verstappen’s resentment over the incident surfaced, despite winning the title which he refused to relinquish to his teammate as they battled for position, referring to “something that happened in the past”.
David Coulthard, who spent four seasons with Red Bull and remains closely associated with the Austrian team, warned Perez that with Daniel Ricciardo signed as a reserve driver he needs to raise his game.
“For Checo to look at how many wins Max has had and how many he’s had, it’s not like he just has to tweak a few corners,” the Scotsman said, according to BBC Sports. “This is a major rewrite, a software update.
“If you use the same ingredients in the cake, you’ll get the same cake,” he continued. “You have to change it if you want something different.
“He has access to world champion data, he can see where he’s fastest, where he’s slowest. Checo will be faster in certain areas. It’s just that Max puts it all together more often than not. other.
“All the knowledge is there for Checo to improve his performance. If he does, the world championship is there for him. If he doesn’t, then it will be another driver, like me, who has won a few victories, grand prizes.
“Having been in a similar situation to Sergio where I was against Mika (Hakkinen) and Kimi (Raikkonen), nothing should be overlooked,” said the Scot. “You do physical training but the only way for him to improve his qualifying speed is in the car or in the simulator.
“In nine years at McLaren, I did all the tests and I never missed a race, even when I felt bad, even when I felt like I was going to be sick after the tests, because i knew the minute i let the test driver in the car it became an opportunity to show how good he was if i don’t let him in the car he can talk all day You have to defend your territory.
Turning his attention to Ricciardo, who left Red Bull aware that (then team-mate) Verstappen was the “chosen son”, Coulthard said: “Daniel just didn’t look like the Daniel of old, so it’s about him trying to rebuild.
“He has a great heritage with Red Bull and he left to try and do things elsewhere,” he continued, referring to the Australian’s decision to chase big bucks at Renault and McLaren, “that didn’t work out, so it came back into the family.
“If he can remember what he was like when he was successful, then Daniel must have the opportunity to come back. If that opportunity doesn’t arise, his grand prix career is probably over.”
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