Inside Sergio Perez’s envious life: £4.3m collection, ties to richest man

Everything you need to know about Formula One driver Sergio Perez as he prepares for his third season with Red Bull as Max Verstappen’s teammate.

Sergio Perez is one of the most recognizable names in Formula One, but he has had to work really hard to achieve this status. His rise to the top has been both exciting on and off the track, with numerous obstacles along the way.

After making his F1 debut in the 2011 season, the 33-year-old Mexican driver has raced for Sauber, McLaren, Force India, Racing Point, and currently Red Bull.

Perez’s racing career began when he began karting at the age of six. He advanced through the junior divisions, Formula BMW, and Formula 3, but he required assistance to make the step to F1.

As a child who had no Mexican racing heroes to look up to, Perez had never really considered competing in Formula One.

Throughout his early adolescence, he was prohibited from racing, which stifled whatever fantasies he may have had. During a karting race, he collided with an older, more influential driver inside the Mexican racing federation. His license was then revoked, and he did not compete in Mexico for a decade.

Perez described the incident in the Players Tribune: “Initially, I intended to remain in Mexico. But I was eventually blacklisted. I got a unique permit that permitted me to race go-karts against considerably older drivers when I was in my early teens.

“I was in the lead for the title, but then I collided with a very prominent member of the Mexico racing federation. To cut a long tale short, they revoked my license.

Perez, desperate to go to Europe and pursue his passion, devised a nightly habit of rising up at 3 a.m. to make cold calls to European racing teams and beg for possibilities. Due to the high cost of the international calls, this landed him in trouble with his mother, so he turned to emails.

Guenther Unterreitmeier, the owner of a small German Formula BMW team, eventually offered Perez a very inexpensive racing program. Perez, age 14, could not afford it, so he pestered the wealthiest guy in the world.

To finance his career in Europe, he approached the multiƄillionaire Mexican Carlos Slim. Perez met Slim through his father’s friendship with him, and at age 14 was able to convince him to support his trip to Germany to compete in Formula BMW. Slim and Perez Sr. became acquainted through Sergio Perez’s manager, former driver Adrian Fernandez.

Perez detailed in the Players Tribune how he convinced Slim, who has a current net worth of £77 Ƅillion according to Forbes, to support his motorsport goals.

Perez wrote, “Carlos was also the man behind Escuderia Telmex, therefore he was always very important to me.” “But, convincing him to send me to Europe was another thing. He had not become wealthy by wasting money, and he had no intention of sending a 14-year-old child to another country. Even though I disliked asking him about it, I did it because I wanted it so badly. Thus, I kept asking him, “Please, please, please, please could you help me get to Europe?”

“He always repeated the same phrases. “Son, it is too soon. We need not travel to Europe. America is great. Let us wait a moment. Blah, blah, blah. Every time I would disagree. I called Carlos again when I received the offer from Günter Unterreitmeier, his future Formula BMW team manager.

“Did he listen to me? Naaaah. Not at all Hahaha. I believe the only reason he gave in was because he saw a child who desperately wanted it. I was desperate. I was willing to perform any task. Eventually, he likely grew so weary of me that he saw the worth in expelling me to a foreign continent. My family was overjoyed. We were soon on our way to Toluca with a one-way ticket to Munich.”

Slim can still be seen at races cheering for Perez, and he has continued to assist him since his F1 debut, with Telmex sponsorship appearing frequently on his cars.

Perez, often known as Checo, is a well-known racing name today, despite having won only four races and not having won a championship.

This is partially due to the fact that he has mostly raced for mid-pack teams and played second fiddle to other drivers, especially Max Verstappen at Red Bull.

His aggressive driving style has produced in accidents that have cost him points and podium positions in the past.

Despite his lack of victories, Perez is the fourth highest-paid Formula One driver. According to Forbes, he was paid $10m by Red Bull in 2022, the year he won the Monaco and Singapore Grand Prix and placed third in the overall standings.

He also received $16m in incentives and has an estimated $30m net worth.

As a professional race car driver, Perez is unsurprisingly fond of automobiles. According to reports, he owns five premium vehicles, including a Bugatti Chiron, McLaren 720S, Mercedes-Benz AMG, Porsche Panamera, and BMW X7. His collection is worth a total of £4.3m.

In 2018, Checo married his long-term partner Carola Martinez. Being Catholics, the couple enjoyed a lavish ceremony and were blessed by Pope Francis himself.

Even in his F1 cars, Perez’s devotion to his religion and the Pope follows him wherever he goes. The Mexican’s cockpit contains images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Pope John Paul II, whom he met as a child and believes gives him extra power.

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