Sergio Perez suggests ‘Latin drivers’ subjected to more criticism in Formula 1

Jamie Woodhouse
Sergio Perez walks in the paddock. Hungary July 2022.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez makes his way through the paddock. Hungary July 2022.

Following on from previous comments, Red Bull driver Sergio Perez suggested that criticism is sometimes ramped up for “Latin drivers”.

Perez had hit a rough patch in form which stretched back even to before the summer break, his performance level dropping effectively since signing his new Red Bull contract after the Monaco Grand Prix.

He snapped that run though with an impressive victory at the Singapore Grand Prix, leading from start to finish in arguably the strongest of his four drives to victory during his Formula 1 career.

After the race though Perez made the suggestion that his poor run of form was blown up by the media, because he is Mexican.

He would discuss this further ahead of the Japanese GP, claiming that it is “Latin drivers” who tend to get a rougher time from the media, although he uses that as motivation, rather than a source of frustration.

Fernando Alonso has also claimed in the past that nationality impacts the punishments handed out by Race Control.

Speaking ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, Perez told The Race: “Whenever you have a bad race or a little bit of a bad patch, as any other driver, sometimes with the Latin drivers you can hear a bit more criticism. When there’s only been a few races, you know?

“It’s not like the year has gone [badly] – you see it with other drivers, that they have similar issues, and it’s hardly being talked about.

“So, sometimes I feel that way. I felt that way throughout my career.

“I think it was worth pointing it out but at the same time it’s the beauty of our sport, to have that [back and forth with the media].

“Together with the media we are a great sport, and as a sportsman you always get that sort of motivation from here and there. It’s absolutely nothing more than that.”

Perez has one of the toughest tasks in Formula 1 right now alongside Max Verstappen, who has already sent Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon packing after the pair struggled to match his performance level in Red Bull machinery.

And although there have been these tricky spells for Perez, overall he has performed at a level closer to that of Verstappen, who is now a victory and bonus point away from the 2022 Drivers’ title.

Perez then feels that the situation he is in does not always get taken properly into account.

“Sometimes I feel people don’t really understand the situation that I’m in, the team that I’m in, who I’m facing, all of that,” Perez suggested.

“But I’m not here for people to give me any credit. I’m here for my own reasons. I just have to get on with it.”

Tied down at Red Bull until the end of 2024, having debuted in Formula 1 back in 2011, Perez hopes that he can inspire youngsters from Mexico to also pursue a career in Formula 1 and hopefully achieve even greater heights than he has so far.

“That would be amazing, just to show the young generation that you can come from Mexico and go all the way to the top,” he said.

“You have to come at a very young age to Europe, first of all. To be able to race with the best drivers, with the similar weather conditions, all these sorts of things that you only get in Europe, not anywhere else.

“Just to believe in themselves, and that they can do even a better job than what I’m doing here, I really hope this encourages more Mexicans to do it.”

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