Red Bull’s search for Perez successor hampered as F1 rival ‘plays a blinder’

Red Bull's search for Sergio Perez's successor has taken a blow as McLaren 'play a blinder' to tie down Oscar Piastri to a new long-term deal.

The Australian has had an impressive rookie campaign behind the wheel, and rumours started to circulate he could be Red Bull bound. The outfit were looking for a No.2 to support Max Verstappen – but Piastri has now committed his future to McLaren.

Karun Chandhok, Sky Sports' F1 pundit, said: "I think McLaren and Zak [Brown, CEO] have played a blinder by locking down Oscar because they got Lando for the next two years, and Oscar has proved to be a little star, hasn't he?

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"They've got driving stability and, actually, now they're in quite a good position of strength negotiating because Lando's now locked in for the next two years, Oscar's beyond it. It'll be fun times, the next couple of seasons, with all that."

Christian Horner had made no secret Red Bull are on the lookout for another back-up driver, with Perez failing to provide the consistency he was looking for in his No.2.

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However, Horner has also admitted he doesn't want two "alpha drivers" – which has ruled out their pursuit of Lando Norris, who has been linked to Red Bull in the past. And McLaren have now blocked a potential pursuit of Piastri.

Piastri put pen-to-paper on a new deal with McLaren that will keep at the outfit until 2026. And McLaren immediately reaped the rewards over the weekend as he won Saturday's sprint before finishing second in Sunday's Grand Prix.

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