Horner loses bet with Perez, but Bernie gets the cash!

© XPB 

Last weekend in Japan, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner found himself entangled in a wager with Sergio Perez. Little did he know the bet would unveil an unexpected twist involving none other than Bernie Ecclestone.

Ahead of last weekend’s round of racing at Suzuka, Horner remembered Perez’s not-so-stellar performance in the past in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Last September, the Mexican qualified fifth for the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix, well adrift from teammate and poleman Max Verstappen.

Horner, feeling confident, offered Perez a hefty sum if he could snag a spot on the front row of the grid for last Sunday’s race.

Perez, ever the determined driver, went out in Q3 and nearly stole pole position from Verstappen, missing out by just a hair’s breadth, or 0.066 seconds!

Back in the Red Bull garage, Horner was about to reach for his wallet and hand over the cash – the Briton declined to reveal the amount – when Perez revealed an unexpected twist.

It appeared the Mexican was in debt for the exact same sum to one Bernard Charles Ecclestone. Therefore, he would be required to settle the wager directly with the former F1 supremo.

“I had a bet with him [Perez] to put it on the front row, because his best qualifying performance had been P4 here,” Horner revealed.

“But somehow, having won the bet, he told me that he owed Bernie Ecclestone exactly the same amount of money. So he's passed that on to Bernie, who was the beneficiary from Checo's front row.

“So dear old Bernie is still making money while not even being here.”

Although initially flummoxed by the Bernie switcheroo, Horner had only praise for how Perez performed in Japan, and especially on race day when the Red Bull charger pulled off some seriously gutsy overtakes, especially around Suzuka’s heart-stopping 130R corner.

“Checo in particular has had a strong weekend, qualifying within one tenth of his team-mate here,” said Horner.

“His race pace was strong, and obviously he had the disadvantage of having to come back through the traffic.

“And there were a couple of moments where I must admit I had my eyes shut as he went into 130R. [I thought], ‘do you need to do it there? Can you not wait for the straight?’ He didn't look like he had three kids when he made that move.”

As Red Bull mulls its driver line-up for 2025, Perez’s display will have done his chances of retaining his plum seat with Red Bull no harm at all.

“I think his confidence is high,” added Horner. “He's very focused on the job in hand, and he's comfortable in the team.

“He knows he's out of contract for next year, so it's his seat to lose. He's very popular in the team and he has started the season in the best possible way.”

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