This weekend’s Miami Grand Prix will be the first of the season to be held in the Western Hemisphere and Red Bull’s Mexican maestro Sergio Perez cannot wait to be nearer to his homeland.
“I think it is great being able to be closer to home,” Perez told City A.M. “I‘m really happy to be back having more races over there [in North and South America]. At some point I could end up finally living back home in Mexico.
“The support is amazing and the fans are really enthusiastic about the sport. All over America, Formula 1 is growing a lot. I think this race in Miami is obviously going to have a lot of Latin people but also Americans.”
Being wingman to the reigning world champion in Max Verstappen comes with its challenges but Perez has been holding his own thus far.
After four races he sits just five points behind his Dutch teammate in the drivers’ championship standings, with both trailing early leader Charles Leclerc.
This season has brought Checo, as he is affectionately known, his first pole position – 11 years after he entered the sport with Sauber.
With the highs have come lows. Both Red Bulls failed to finish the opening race of the season in Bahrain before Perez finished fourth, second and second again in the subsequent three races.
“It hasn’t been the start that we hoped to have as a team,” he added. “We’ve been competitive, but not reliable.
“We’ve had too many DNFs [retirements] in the first three races but this season is very young and we believe that we can recover.
“It’s very important not just for me but for the whole team to keep that motivation. It’s a very long season.
“If you’re arriving on the 15th weekend and have nothing to fight for, then it kind of gets long.
“But I think we are just working really hard as a team to make sure that we are in a good position.”
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton last month became involved in one of the bids to purchase Premier League club Chelsea, and increasingly athletes are getting involved in financial interests away from their chosen sport.
Perez is a keen investor but prefers more traditional routes, admitting that he’s not fully up to speed with cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.
“I don’t trade that often. I’ve learned through the years that the best you can do is to invest in the long term. And that’s how you make the right goals,” he said.
“I started I think, like, five, six years ago, just working with bankers and just I find it very important for the athlete to be involved in that kind of discussions to make sure you understand where your money is being poured on.
“I don’t understand it enough [modern collectables] but I certainly cannot ignore it. I have few friends who are into it so I’m trying to understand and to get into it at least with a bit of a percentage and start because you always hear the nice stories about it.”
Perez is four races into a one-year deal extension with Red Bull but his future is by no means certain.
With paddock rumours circulating around Red Bull’s desire to keep AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly on the books, Perez is fighting to keep his seat.
“I’m focusing on my job and making sure I enjoy what I’m doing,” he added. “That’s my priority.
“I’ve been here [in F1] for a long time so I think at certain stages of your career you prioritise other things like making sure you do enjoy what you are doing.”