Sergio Perez has joked that Red Bull is now the national drink of Mexico as his home fans flock to support the team.
Perez has been a part of the Formula 1 grid since all the way back in 2011, and in that time has built up quite the fan following in his native Mexico.
For a large part of 2020 though, his place on the grid this year was under threat. With Sebastian Vettel taking Perez’s seat for 2021 as Racing Point rebranded to Aston Martin, Perez was facing a year on the sidelines.
But just as Formula 1 was winding down for the off-season, Perez got the call from Red Bull who placed him in a race seat for 2021 while Alex Albon dropped to reserve and test driver.
At Red Bull, Perez has a genuine chance of competing for race wins and so it is no surprise the Mexican fans are loving their star driver being part of Red Bull.
Perez even joked they have put down their national drink, tequila, in favour of Red Bull.
“Red Bull is now our national drink, we forgot about tequila,” he said with a smile in conversation with the Mexican branch of ESPN.
“The Mexicans are very excited and really love the team and are supporting us. I’m focused on going back to Mexico and winning a race for them.”
Albon and Pierre Gasly, who came before Perez, both struggled to adapt to the Red Bull machinery – something Perez admitted he can understand after his first outing in the RB16B.
But he is determined to get comfortable with his new challenger as quickly as possible, and already progress is being made after a filming day at Silverstone.
“It takes a long time to feel comfortable and I expect several changes in the first five races in what I’m used to,” he explained.
“During the other days we made great progress. We changed the seat, we adjusted the belts. The conditions were not the best (on filming day), but it was nice to get a close-up to the car, pedals, brakes and everything new that I’m going through. It was the priority before Bahrain.”