David Coulthard believes that Sergio Perez will be looking over his shoulder at Daniel Ricciardo, viewing him as a threat for a drive at the Red Bull team.
Following two difficult seasons at McLaren, Ricciardo has opted to return to Red Bull in a third driver role for the 2023 campaign.
The Australian will support former team-mate Max Verstappen and Perez throughout the season as he targets a full-time return to the grid in 2024.
Verstappen and Perez enter their third year in partnership this season, however throughout their stint together thus far, Verstappen has held the upper hand on Perez.
Last year, the Dutchman claimed 15 grand prix wins en route to a second Formula 1 title, while Perez secured just two.
Coulthard says that Perez needs a “software update” if he wishes to contend against Verstappen going forward.
“Checo [Perez] will see that there is a real substitute driver there,” said Coulthard, as quoted by BBC Sport.
“For Checo to look at how many victories Max had and how many he had, it’s not like he is just having to polish a few corners. This is a major rewrite, a software update,” he said.
“If you use the same ingredients in the cake you will get the same cake. You need to change it if you want something different.
“He has access to the data of the world champion. He can see where he’s quicker, where he’s slower. Checo will be quicker in some areas. It’s just Max is putting it all together more often than not.
“All the knowledge is there for Checo to lift his performance. If he does then the World Championship is there for him to put his hand on.
“If he doesn’t, then he will be another driver, like myself, that won a few grands prix.”
Perez’s current contract at Red Bull runs to the end of the 2024 season.
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