F1: Sergio Perez and Mexico's past, present, and future at the Grand Prix

22/12/2020

The one who gave a lot to talk about throughout the year was Sergio Perez. The pilot from Jalisco had a dream season in Formula 1, because not only was it the best in the decade he has been in the Grand Prix, but he also managed to break a bad streak, because after 50 years he managed to have the Mexican flag on the top of the podium; Pedro Rodriguez was the last one to do so.

Sergio Perez has reached the top of motorsport in 2020 to be officially hired by the Red Bull team, one of the most important in the current context for their latest results: it was second in the World Constructors 2020 (has been in the top three in the last five years) and is the third most valuable team in the world with an estimated value of $ 640 million, according to El Economista.

The arrival of Mexico's Sergio Perez is even more surprising when you consider that Red Bull is a team that is characterized by giving space to pilots who have graduated from their own academies and are under 30 years old, such as the Dutch Max Verstappen (23 years old) and the Thai-British Alex Albon (24 years old), who were the headliners in the 2020 season.

Sergio Perez does not fit that profile: he is a graduate of the Ferrari Academy and will turn 31 next January 26. However, Red Bull bet on him due to his sports performance in 2020, after 10 years of competing in Formula 1.

This year was the best in the career of Sergio Perez ( Checo). He won a Grand Prix (Sakhir) and was one of the four drivers who could take titles from Lewis Hamilton this season, the others were Valtteri Bottas (from Mercedes), Max Verstappen (Red Bull), and Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri). This is measured by seeing that 11 of the 17 Grand Prix this year were won by Hamilton (Mercedes).

The arrival of Sergio Perez to Red Bull would also mean the best contract of his career, as he could double his income. In the 2020 season, the driver from Guadalajara reported a salary of approximately 3.6 million dollars a year, which would increase to 7.2.

According to reports from diverse specialized media, Max Verstappen, who will be Perez's teammate with Red Bull in the 2021 season, received a salary of 19.4 million dollars in the most recent season, being the fourth best-paid driver behind only Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) and Daniel Ricciardo (Renault). The other Red Bull driver in 2020, Alex Albon, received 1.2 million dollars.

The Mexican Sergio Perez reaches the fourth team of his career, valued at 640 million dollars according to the latest report of Forbes in 2019, while Racing Point, the team from which he leaves, is valued at 130 million, in other words, almost a fifth of the value of Red Bull.

Despite being the fourth-best driver of the season and the only one who did not drive a Mercedes or a Red Bull car, Sergio Perez was relegated from Racing Point because the team bet on the signing of world champion Sebastian Vettel and on keeping Lance Stroll, son of Lawrence Stroll, the team's director.

Sergio Perez, in pursuit of the Rodriguez brothers

During the 2020 season, Sergio Perez won the Sakhir Grand Prix and broke a 50-year period with no Mexican in the first place on a Formula 1 podium. The last one to achieve this was Pedro Rodriguez in 1970, during the Belgian Grand Prix.

In the sixties and seventies, the list of winners was more even. In the 1970 season, Mexico's Pedro Rodriguez was one of seven drivers to win a Grand Prix and the top winner was Germany's Jochen Rindt with five wins. The other first-place Pedro won was in 1968, and there were six pilots who won, being the British Jim Clark the most wins with four. These numbers contrast with the 2020 season, in which Lewis Hamilton won 11 of 17 awards and in which there were only five different winners.

The income between Pedro Rodriguez and Sergio Perez is different. The former was driven by the fortune of his father, businessman Pedro Rodriguez Quijada, and even with resources from Pemex, while Perez has been injected with resources from Carlos Slim and other private sector sponsors.

Pedro Rodríguez was part of the Ferrari team in the 1969 season, although he only raced five of the 13 awards. In the 1960s, Ferrari won two world championships for drivers. For its part, Red Bull has won four championships from 2010 to 2020 with driver Sebastian Vettel, and is the last team to win before the seven consecutive Mercedes championships with Lewis Hamilton.

What others say about Sergio Perez

In an interview with La Razón, Nascar's champion driver, Ruben Rovelo, acknowledged that Mexico cannot be left without a Formula 1 driver and that Sergio Perez is the right one to represent the country in the mother competition of motor racing.

Sergio Perez finished the campaign in fourth place of drivers with 125 units, his best performance along with his career in the Grand Circuit, even though he could not participate in two Grand Prixs, since he was diagnosed with a coronavirus.

On his part Bobby Fernandez, champion five times in a row of the Copa Notiauto, assured that what "Checo"'Sergio Perez is doing in Formula 1 is to be proud as a nation, since he is placing the name of Mexico on top.

Staying in Formula 1 is becoming more and more complex. Results matter, but it is not everything. Hector Alonso Rebaque, former F1 driver, described in an interview with Infobae Mexico that in the motor racing category there are many interests, although a set of factors that define continuity, sponsorships play an important role.

Sergio signed a contract in 2019 for three years and the relationship ended due to a clause that could have been made valid by the team to terminate the relationship without any penalty. According to the head of the team, he declared for Auto Motor und Sport that the Mexican contribution in sponsorship, subtracting the driver's salary, amounted to USD 3 million. Meanwhile, according to data from Black Book Motorsport, the companies America Movil and Claro destined USD 132 million for sponsorship from 2011 to 2014.

He added that it is "a very difficult environment and we have to make way. It is a very hostile environment, for many reasons, there are many drivers who want to enter" and there are few places available.

The following pilots were excluded for 2021: Daniil Kvyat, Kevin Magnussen, and Romain Grosjean. While the continuity of Alex Albon and Sergio Perez is in doubt.

Biography of 'Checo' Sergio Perez

Sergio Michel Pérez Mendoza, or 'Checo Pérez', as he is popularly known. He has been a Formula, 1 racing driver, since 2014, but his love for racing started much earlier. Checo Perez' is a Mexican of pure stock. He was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, on January 26, 1990. At the age of 31, he has achieved many achievements within the world of motorsports, one of which he entered at the age of six.

As a child, he already showed his talent for driving vehicles. At that age, he achieved four victories and a runner-up spot at the end of 1996. In 1997 he participated in the Youth Category, being the youngest driver and he got one victory, 5 podiums, and finished fourth in the championship.

The following year would be his first crowning. He competed again in that category and achieved 8 victories and at the end of the year, he became champion and the youngest pilot to achieve it. Also, he competed in a Master of Karting race in Kadets and triumphed in that event.

Six years later, in 2004, he competed in the Midwestern Championship, finishing in seventh place with 6 races to go. In addition, in the Formula Skip Barber Nacional, he was a pilot for Escuderia Telmex and became the youngest pilot in the history of the category to climb the podium and finish the season in eleventh place with a podium and 77 points. That season Sergio Perez was named Rookie of the Year at the age of 14.