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The Transformation of ‘Checo’ Pérez Since He Arrived at Red Bull

The Mexican driver, Sergio 'Checo' Pérez, the only Latin American in the competition, lives his best campaign in Formula in the Austrian team, and several could be the reasons for the improvement in his performance.

Czech perez

Ten years after his arrival at the big top, Mexican Sergio “Checo” Pérez seems to finally consolidate himself in Formula One with the Red Bull Racing team. Photo: IG-schecoperez

LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano Moreno

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Leer en español: La transformación de ‘Checo’ Pérez desde que llegó a Red Bull

Ten years after his arrival at the big top, Mexican Sergio “Checo” Pérez seems to finally consolidate himself in Formula One with the Red Bull Racing team, to which he arrived in 2021 after passing without luck through other teams such as Sauber, Force India, and Racing Point. Being the second to Max Verstappen and having a very competitive car seems to place the Aztec where fans have always believed he should be.

Known for taking great care of the tires on his car, Pérez has gained respect this year with his victory in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, four podiums and a fourth place in the general classification with five races remaining: Mexico (his home), Brazil , Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Already in 2020, the Aztec pilot had experienced his best campaign and in this, he is consolidating.

A year ago, the Mexican driver added 125 points while racing for the Racing-Point team, today Aston Martin. But with the 15 points he accumulated at the Turkish GP on October 10, he reached 135 points. In the absence of five races, it is quite likely that Pérez can continue adding and rounding off a very worthy campaign, for the first time in a team that is candidate for the title.

Ability to make podiums

Andrea Rojas, a Venezuelan sports journalist, specialist in Formula One, considers that the real big change was conceived in 2020 at Racing Point, a minor team that allowed him to show his qualities and attract the attention of better franchises.

Also read: Why are there no American drivers in Formula 1?

“You have to go back to its time at Racing Point, specifically in 2019 and 2020, when the Mercedes engine on that pink vehicle allowed him to boost himself, having a better performance and handling in those two seasons, but especially when he won the Gran in 2020 Sakhir award in Bahrain, just when it was known that he would no longer continue in that team," explains the communicator.

It was at that time, said Rojas, that British manager Christian Horner took the initiative to offer the Mexican a contract for the 2021 season with Red Bull, which was immediately taken over by Pérez, who began with great enthusiasm and dedication this year to prove he was the perfect squire for Verstappen.

For the first-line Formula One technicians, and especially those of Red Bull, it was important to get a projection driver who with a good car could sneak into many podiums, a virtue of the Mexican pilot.

“Pérez is a conservative driver who sticks to strategy and makes good decisions, and that behavior has been ideal for Red Bull because he has consistently stayed on the podium when Verstappen failed. Thanks to this adherence to the strategy, the pair has worked for the team, ”said Rojas.

Before the next GP of Mexico, 'Checo' already equaled his podiums in a season with three: Azerbaijan, France and Turkey. Although it must be said that this brand had already been achieved in 2012 when it was part of Sauber in Malaysia, Canada and Italy.

Not everything is rosy

The Red Bull rider started with an outstanding fifth place at the Bahrain Grand Prix, but later suffered a serious setback crossing the finish line at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in Italy, placing himself eleventh.

He then had a very good run, culminating in the top six in the immediate races, including the aforementioned podiums as the winner of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and third in France. From there, his performance declined in the remaining six races, mainly in Hungary, where he did not even finish the race. The Mexican has the explanation for this. Those who have known how to differentiate themselves in F1 as a good tire keeper, expresses a rather cautious opinion on that point at Red Bull.

“Even in tire care, each car has different requirements for heating and cooling the rim, with very specific details. So it's a different world, to be honest. It is as if I had changed category to be very honest," he said in statements compiled for the Nación Deportes portal.

Despite everything, Pérez acknowledges that being able to drive for Red Bull is a real pleasure: “It is a great opportunity, but yes, I am also aware that the philosophy has changed a lot. Everything has been more difficult than expected. It's great to be on a team that is fighting for the championship, but at the same time, you need more time for the necessary adaptation ”.

Time to adjust

For Rojas, adaptation is another quality that can be enhanced in "Checo" in the medium term. Currently with five races to go, Pérez is fourth overall with 150 points, behind his teammate Verstappen (287.5), Lewis Hamilton (275.5), and Valteri Bottas (185). But, it shouldn't be neglected because it only has one more point than McLaren's Lando Norris (149).