There was a moment, especially at the beginning of 2020 and years before that, when thinking of Sergio Pérez as a Red Bull Racing driver was not only utopian but even incongruous, but today, after six months as a member of the organization, the Mexican It seems like an ideal item for the powerful Austrian squad.
And it was utopian, because Red Bull had established a work norm with flyers graduated from its academy, because since Mark Webber had arrived from elsewhere, only very young runners had established themselves there and the ladder did not seem to be able to pause.
But it was time to take on the best available rider due to the impossibility of seating a “squad” who could walk, if not at par, not far from Max Verstappen, who is a true team-breaker.
This is how “Checo” Pérez arrived, who, against many odds, has found and applied enough emotional intelligence to empathize with Red Bull, Verstappen, Christian Horner and Helmut Marko.
Here are the points for which we believe that Sergio “Checo” Pérez fell on his feet in Red Bull, after Racing Point dropped him, metaphorically speaking, from a helicopter.
From the first day, even before, that he was named a Red Bull driver, “Checo” began to be applied at the Milton Keynes factory. It has been six months and six Grands Prix in which catching up with such an oiled team was not easy. There is no complaint about the delivery of the Mexican.
Until 2020, “Checo” almost evenly divided his residence between Europe and Guadalajara, but it was very common to see him return to Perla Tapatia after each Grand Prix to recharge batteries with his family.
Now, his wife and young children live in Madrid and the Mexican does not leave Europe. Thus, he is one hour from the factory and concentrates on returning to it to work closely with his engineers and mechanics.
But it is not only the physical closeness. “Checo” has empathized with Horner, Marko, Verstappen and even with Adrian Newey. Although it is still early to talk about a friendship, sparks and sparks were foreshadowed between Pérez and his teammate Verstappen, which has been the opposite.
Horner always believed in the Mexican. Marko, little by little falls into the “arms” of Pérez and Newey is a juicy source of knowledge to which the Mexican approaches to satisfy his curiosity.
Coming to a team as a new driver and realizing that the partner of the other car manages to make the best times with the same machine that you are just going to know, it is not easy, but having the humility to say, “I am not going to move him one iota. to the set-up of Max and I will adapt my handling (totally different) to that car ”is something that is never seen in Formula 1.
“Checo” Pérez not only tried it but is almost totally adapted to a very physical car, with high rake and with new regulations. He relearned, erased everything that he applied seven years in his time at Force India-Racing Point so as not to fall into the folly of wanting to have his own set-up on the RB16B.
Humility to ask his first rival, Max, how to improve and which way to go.
Verstappen’s respect has not been gratuitous. Technical input, tire handling, car and fuel treatment have been matters that Red Bull lacked a specialist.
Max listens to “Checo” and learns from him.
Do not celebrate the triumph as someone who challenges the teammate. Not to sow an atmosphere of competition with a personal approach but a totally team focus, with priority on Red Bull’s goals and then on your own.
That is the way to an automatic renewal.
A driver in his eleventh season who does not sacrifice speed to find efficiency.
In Baku it became clear that “Checo” can be the fastest of the practices, capable of passing cleanly at the start, setting a fast lap to pit Lewis Hamilton and then holding him for 35 laps.
“Checo” is not just a tire manager, first of all, he is a very fast one-lap driver and at race pace.