Red Bull has developed a reputation for being somewhat trigger-happy with its driver selection, but Sergio Pérez is set to buck the trend and serve a third season with the team.
Christian Horner spoke to Autosport about Sergio Pérez and his position in the team:
"He's driving at a very high level. He's more comfortable in the team this year. I think the car suits him better".
Sergio Pérez was open about his struggles with last year's RB16B, which was unsuited to the Mexican's driving style.
Horner emphasised no clear decision has been made for 2023 but maintains the team is pleased with the 2-time race winner's performances this year.
Red Bull's team principal has revealed that Pérez and the team held some preliminary discussions in Miami, but there is no rush to make a decision:
"Everybody within the team is very pleased with the job that Checo's continuing to do... We started to talk [in Miami], but we are not in a hurry to get anything done soon."
After an especially difficult time in qualifying last year, Pérez has made significant strides already this season. Pole Position in Jeddah was the highlight, but Checo has consistently found himself within a few tenths of Verstappen on Saturday, a notable improvement from 2021.
Pérez's race pace has also been strong, playing an integral role in keeping Red Bull within striking distance of Ferrari in the standings.
Red Bull's driver academy is far from inactive, with Liam Lawson and Juri Vips presenting themselves as the most legitimate candidates for an F1 seat in 2023.
However, neither Lawson nor Vips should expect anything more than an Alpha Tauri seat for the foreseeable future. Even then, it will take a fantastic Formula 2 season from either of them to change Alpha Tauri's current pairing.
Gasly seems unlikely to ascend into a Red Bull seat, given his strong performances in 2021 did nothing more than cement his place at Alpha Tauri.
Tsunoda has had a promising start in 2022, but it seems a stretch to imagine the 22-year old will drive for the senior team next year.
Sergio Pérez's defensive heroics at the end of 2021 were critical in securing the drivers' championship for Verstappen. This season, however, he could play an equally significant role in clinching the constructors' title for Red Bull.
Red Bull's fight with Ferrari looks to be an intense one, and so Pérez will need to continue his current form throughout the season.