In a physically gruelling Qatar Grand Prix where some drivers were reportedly close to passing out and others taken to the medical centre in the extreme heat, Perez climbed from a pitlane start to score a point in 10th place.
His pitlane start followed being taken out in a Saturday sprint race shunt with Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg. This required extensive repairs and new power unit parts, which were carried out outside of parc ferme rules to constitute a rules breach.
As team-mate Max Verstappen dominated the grand prix, Perez’s race was notable for picking up three five-second penalties for exceeding track limits on six occasions.
After his messy race, Red Bull team principal Horner said Perez must be taken aside as the squad “desperately” needs him to rediscover his form to keep the runner-up spot.
“I think we really need to sit down with Checo because we know what he’s capable of and he’s not hitting that form at the moment,” said Horner.
“We desperately need him to find that form to keep this second place in the championship.
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
“So, it was frustrating that he’s only come out of the weekend with one point and I think he could have, even starting from the back of the grid, there was an opportunity to score heavily today or decently.
“But we’ll support him as much as we can because there’s the triple-header coming up [United States, Mexico, Brazil]. There’s a huge amount of points with sprint races as well.”
While Lewis Hamilton was eliminated in a Turn 1 shunt with his Mercedes team-mate George Russell, for which the seven-time world champion took “100%” of the responsibility, Perez only leads the Briton by 30 points ahead of the final five rounds.
Horner hopes the support Perez will receive from fans over the next three races, including his home event in Mexico City, will help restore his confidence.
He added that Perez needed to “stop the merry-go-round” over his form and “go back to basics”.
“I think you just need to sometimes sort of take your foot off, put it on the floor, stop the merry-go-round and just go back to basics. And that’s what we’ll do,” he said.
“We all know what Checo is capable of and we want to support him to get back into a position where even as near ago as Monza, he was finishing in second place to Max.”