Perez recollects cold-calling teams for F1 opportunities

Henry Valantine
Sergio Perez holds a Mexican flag on the podium. Austin October 2021.

Sergio Perez celebrates his podium in the United States GP. Austin October 2021.

Sergio Perez has opened up about his route into Formula 1, which involved a healthy dose of initiative on his part.

The Red Bull driver revealed that he cold-called teams in the dead of night in Mexico, due to the time difference with Europe, to try and find a way into racing in Europe – which led to frustrations from his parents about how much money he was racking up on their phone bill.

Not every deal was affordable for the young Perez, but he eventually found an offer which would bring him to Europe by earning a seat in Formula BMW in 2005, and he spoke of how he managed to gain a seat in the series.

“My older brother was racing in Formula Ford in the UK and I saw the level of competitiveness they had in Europe, and I knew, if I want to make it into Formula 1, then I have to go to Europe,” he said on “For Real: Sergio Perez”, released on Red Bull’s YouTube channel.

“But, obviously, the next factor was finding the money. I was sponsored by Carlos Slim at the time, but he didn’t want to do the jump into Europe because he thought that I was too young.

“So, I just went into the BMW website and found all the team contact details – the emails, basically. I emailed them all to try to convince them to take me because I was a very good Mexican driver.

“It was pretty funny, because of the time difference in Mexico I had to wake up at four in the morning, three in the morning, to make phone calls.

“But in the end, I got proposals from all the teams and they were all too expensive, and then all of a sudden, I found one that was very attractive, very cheap.

“I went on that plane with a one-way ticket.”

Perez has appeared on the podium at each of the last two Formula 1 races, despite driving through illness and a failed drink system in Austin which led him to describe the United States Grand Prix as his “toughest race ever” last time out.

He’ll be hoping to continue his upward trend and potentially climb even further up the pecking order at his home race in Mexico City this weekend.

To find out more about Perez’s journey from Mexico, to living in a restaurant, to moving up the motorsport ranks, watch “For Real: Sergio Perez” on the Red Bull YouTube channel, or click on the video below.