Saturday, May 5, 2012

F1: Sergio Perez - Mexico’s newest Star...

So, as always – your humble scribe is way behind in his scribbling and hence, with Felice Navidad - having come ‘N gone; NOT capable of escaping that diabolical NoFenderz Wormhole Vortex... As its now Cinco de Mayo, what better time to celebrate ‘Juan of Formula 1’s rising stars along with beginning my long overdue chronicling of the past year’s class de F1 Rookie Gran Primo Piloto’s; Ci?

Sergio Perez at Singapore in 2011. (Source:
Sergio Perez (Mexico)
Birthplace: Guadalajara, Jalisco; Mexico.
DOB: January 26, 1990
Age: 22
Car No. 15
Team: Sauber F1 Team
Chassis: C31; Engine: Ferrari
Debut GP: 2011 Australian GP 

Sergio Perez Mendoza became Mexico’s first Grand Prix driver in 30-years upon taking the green flag at Albert Park in Australia on March 27, 2011 - after Hector Rebaque contested his final F1 season behind the wheel of the Brabham BT50-Cosworth as triple world champion Nelson Piquet’s teammate during the 1981 season. With Hector’s final outing being the season finale Viva Las Vegas Grand Prix held in the Caesars Palace parking lot.

As Sergio, whom apparently also goes by ‘Chico, is the younger brother of Antonio, a former NASCAR Corona champion - both having grown up in Guadalajara. And with many bio’s – whilst its noted that he began single seater racing in the 2004 Skip Barber Dodge series, I had to hunt around further in order to discover his Motorsports roots...

Like almost all typical Formula 1 drivers, Sergio began his racing career by competing in Go Karts, having begun at the tender age of six - and going on to set many firsts South of the Border, as Perez mimicked another F1 prodigy known as Master ‘Zebb, a.k.a. Sebastian Vettel... As Sergio not only won races as the youngest in class - finishing as runner-up in his debutant year of karting. But also took a number of Go Kart titles whilst being the youngest; champion in class, having won the Shifter 80cc crown in 2000; also contesting a few 125cc Shifter races.

Driving for the Telmex Team, in 2002 Chico finished runner-up in the National 125cc Shifter Kart category on the back of six wins - before moving to America to contend the Skip Barber Midwest and National series, where at the tender age of 14, Sergio surpassed the late  Ricardo Rodriguez as the youngest ever Mexican to win an Open Wheel race internationally - along with being nominated Skip Barber National series Rookie of the Year...

For 2005-06 Perez toiled with mid-pack German Formula BMW teams, gaining two podiums and finishing Top-10 series-wise in his sophomore season.

For 2007 Perez crushed the British National F3 category with 14-poles and 14-wins before graduating to the top flight British International F3 series the following year - where he took four victories. Then for ’09 Perez not only was the first Mexican to contest the GP2 series, but also became his countries first winner, before continuing on in the main European GP2 series - finishing runner-up to Pastor Maldonado, the 2010 GP2 champion. As the rest is history, as Sergio landed the second Sauber F1 seat alongside Japanese teammate “K-squared.” (Kamui Kobayashi)

And I must say that I don’t recollect all that much ‘bout Sergio’s rookie F1 campaign, albeit his monstrous crash at Monaco and his stellar debutant Grand Prix drive Down Under where he finished an impressive seventh place before both Sauber’s were disqualified for rear wing infractions...

As Perez finished 16th in the drivers title fight with a relatively modest 14-points... Yet I recall being more ‘Jazzed by the young Mexicali’s performances over Paul di Resta, who I suppose I should give more credit to - especially as a DTM champion making it to Formula 1, eh? Yet, perhaps its just Perez’s Latin blood that gets my attention over the drollish? Scot...

And now Sergio is on everybody’s radar after his outstanding runner-up finish to Fredrico Suave (Fred Alonso( in Malaysia - where the young Mexicali was actually running faster then Alonso’s Ferrari and very well could have won the race except for a minor error of kerb hopping whilst just a scant half-second adrift of the two-time world champion Spaniard!

Thus, will Sergio replace la Scuderia’s forlorn Felipe Massa? As Mexico’s GP2 Prince and Sauber F1 reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez waits in the wings for his turn in Formula One. Only time  will tell,  as perhaps Perez will become the youngest Mexican to win a Grand Prix in the near  future, while he’ll be celebrating his birthday age in Barcelona - where he’ll make his 22nd Grand Prix start..

For other Mexicali Gran Primo Piloto’s, see; Cinco de Mayo: Mexicali Gran Primo Piloto’s - Redux