In the new “Racing rarities” puzzle, we show a pilot who will hang up his helmet, but not this one. Who is pictured here? When and where was this recording taken?
Every week we present a small piece of motorsport history, mostly from the archive of our partners at the British photo agency LAT. The process is child’s play – tell us who can be recognized, where and when the picture was taken (example: Jo Siffert, Monza, 1970) and, with a little luck, you could win a small prize. Please do not forget your name, address, year of birth and telephone number. Send your solution to: [email protected] The closing date for entries is midnight on the Sunday of the current week.
The breakup from last time: The Mexican Sergio Pérez wins the sprint race of the GP2 Asia Series 2008/2009 on the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on February 14, 2009. The main race the day before had won Nico Hülkenberg, the champion of the series of twelve races was the Japanese Kamui Kobayashi.
The Formula 1 career of today’s Red Bull Racing driver Pérez is well documented, so let’s briefly highlight two aspects that are less well known: Why is the racing driver from Guadalajara actually called “Checo”? And how was his passion for racing aroused?
Sergio explains: “I came into contact with racing as a young boy because my father worked for the racing driver Adrián Fernández. I knew very early on that I wanted to be a racer too. ” But the way from a kart track in Guadalajara to the racing car factory of the four-time Red Bull Racing world champions was long and rocky.
Pérez learned that racing is synonymous with hardship. “As a toddler, I covered long distances, mostly with my father and brother. It was not uncommon for us to take ten to fifteen hours to get to a racetrack. Week after week. “
The jump to Europe was made thanks to the motorsport program of the entrepreneur Carlos Slim. Sergio continues: «I was 15 years and traveled all alone to Europe. My parents said goodbye to me at Toluca Airport near Mexico City, after which I was on my own. “
Pérez finally landed in Vilsbiburg in Germany (11,000 inhabitants), it was not an easy time. «My budget was tight, but I was lucky. My team boss at the time owned a restaurant and I was able to live with the cooks above the dining room. In my free time, I even gave them a hand, they tried to teach me a few bits of German. That didn’t work that well. Instead, ate schnitzel and apple strudel quite often. “
There were moments when Sergio doubted himself. “I often thought of giving up. I had left everything behind – friends, family, culture. I caught myself thinking: ‘Formula 1 is just too far away. Why don’t I let all this slip and go back to Mexico and lead a normal life? ‘ I only got through with the support of my family. It was hard. I was lonely But in the end the fire burned too much for racing to give up. “
Years later, in 2011, Pérez made a name for himself as a tire whisperer in his first Grand Prix. Rank 7 in Australia was due to the fact that he was the only one to cross the finish line with a one-stop strategy. Unfortunately, the points fell flat, because after the World Cup kick-off, the rear wings of the Sauber racers did not comply with the regulations.
Pérez remembers: “What struck me most in Formula 1 was that you were suddenly working with so many technicians, and everyone asked for precise information about their specialist area. It also took some getting used to, how public interest in you explodes. “
Ten years after his GP debut with Sauber, Pérez is an old Formula 1 hand, hardened in 210 world championship races. “It’s unbelievable how quickly time flies.” In Sakhir 2020 with Racing Point and in Baku 2021 with Red Bull Racing, Sergio Pérez was able to win a Grand Prix – as many successes as his idol Pedro Rodríguez, who triumphed in Kyalami in 1967 and in Belgium in 1970.
And what about «Checo»? Sergio laughs: “Unfortunately, the story isn’t that spectacular. In Mexico the first name Sergio is often made into Checo, I don’t know where that comes from either. ” This is similar to the English James, which is often changed to Jim or Jimmy.
Let’s stick with the somewhat unknown sides of the GP veteran: Sergio Pérez, for example, loves golf. He started playing when he moved to England at the age of 17. “Unfortunately I don’t play golf enough during the season. When I’m free, I’m on the pitch twice a week. ” Current handicap: 18.
His first car was a used Chevy that his sister and brother had driven. The car couldn’t go any further because Sergio had an accident with it. «I wanted to go to a soccer game but realized that I had left my shoes at home. So I raced back and took a one-way street as a shortcut – not a good idea! “
Pérez carefully watches what is happening on the stock exchange. “I’ve invested a little in stocks. It’s a bit like motorsport – one day things go well, another a little less. “
This can happen when your head is full of 1000 thoughts. Sergio: «Christian Horner invited me to his home for dinner. Shortly afterwards I flew from England to Mexico. There the phone rang: Christian was on it and asked me whether I actually knew that my wallet was still with him. “
Pérez is deeply rooted at home in Mexico, but if he had to choose another city to live there, “it would be Madrid. It’s a fabulous city and the Spanish culture is very similar to that of Mexico. “
This question to a Formula 1 driver comes up again and again: What job would a driver have today if nothing had turned out with a great racing career? Sergio: «I think I would have become a banker or a lawyer. Adrenaline also flows there, just like in racing. “
Most Mexicans have a soft spot for football, and Sergio Pérez is no different. His favorite at home is Club America from Mexico City. But Pérez is also following the LA Galaxy games closely, because that is where his buddy Javier Hernández (Chicharito) plays. «He moved to Manchester United when I got into Formula One. So, to a certain extent, we started our international careers together. “
In 2012, Pérez set up a foundation in Guadalajara to help the disadvantaged, especially children. “That is important to me because many people are doing badly. Three years ago, after an earthquake, we organized that many people could get a roof over their heads again. I am very proud of the work we are doing there. ”
Most drivers name Ayrton Senna or Michael Schumacher as role models, but Pérez is different: “I never had a role model. I simply admire people who are successful, at work or privately. “
Pérez likes light luggage: “I used to have a trainer who always said, ‘Wallet, phone, passport, you don’t need all the rest’. So to this day I only travel with the bare essentials. “
Sergio Pérez’s start number 11 was already on his racing kart for the following reason: “When I started karting, Ivan Zamorano was playing for Club America. I thought it was great, so I put the 11 on my kart too. “
So to the new riddle: The driver in question will soon hang up his helmet, but not this one.
Who is this? Where and when was this picture taken?
Take part too! Send your solution to: [email protected] The closing date for entries is midnight on the Sunday of the current week.