“We have a contract [with Perez],” Horner told Speedcafe.
“We’re happy with Checo and he will be our driver next year. But for us, it’s always good to have… the whole purpose of AlphaTauri and Toro Rosso before was to be training drivers as potential candidates for Red Bull Racing.
“That’s why, with Nyck [de Vries], it didn’t feel like he was going to be a Red Bull Racing candidate, so then the argument you put is, does it make sense to keep going?”
However, Perez’s recent struggles will mean his performances require an improvement if he is to ensure he retains his current drive beyond the end of next year.
Horner, though, underlines that Perez’s future is in his own hands, but he also suggests that options elsewhere won’t only be restricted to Red Bull’s sister squad, AlphaTauri.
“I think ’25, it’s just good always to have options,” he added. “I mean, Max is fixed till ’28. Checo’s contract runs the end of next year.
“If Checo delivers, we’ll keep going with Checo. If he doesn’t, for whatever reason, that won’t be just restricted to AlphaTauri drivers. Because there’s an awful lot of drivers up and down the pit lane that would like to drive a Red Bull car.”
Following Red Bull’s decision to axe de Vries only 10 races into his rookie season, Daniel Ricciardo has since filled the vacated AlphaTauri seat alongside Yuki Tsunoda.
The experienced Australian has already expressed that his comeback is targeted at returning to the senior team come 2025, further ramping up the pressure on Perez.
Although Ricciardo will be 36 years old by that time, Horner argues: “I don’t see age as a barrier.
“When I see what Fernando Alonso is doing, and Lewis Hamilton. It’s all about what’s up here [in the mind] that counts,” he continued.