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Oracle Red Bull Racing driver Sergio Peréz at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Image: Instagram

Sergio Peréz Reveals What it’s Really Like to Be an F1 Star

Sergio Peréz may well be Formula One’s most popular driver, but there is a lot more about the man they call Checo than meets the eye. On the eve of the Monaco Grand Prix, Man of Many editor-in-chief Nick Hall caught up with the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver to talk evolution, expectation and the pressure to perform.

After more than a decade behind the Formula One wheel, Sergio Peréz has learned a thing or two about himself. The 34-year-old Mexican star is one of the sport’s shining lights; an athlete so ingrained within the culture of F1 that his cheeky smile is near inescapable come Grand Prix time, plastered across walkways, billboards and social media for the world to see. But behind closed doors, the man they call ‘Checo’ grapples with a familiar beast. Speaking at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix, Peréz revealed to me that the biggest misconception about F1 isn’t the speed or danger but rather the ever-mounting pressure to perform.

“With the drivers…although we are big stars, yes, we get that, but the amount of work that is put behind the scenes, it’s a sport that you’re basically sitting on your own and it’s down to you to perform,” Peréz told me. “You do well, it’s great, a team effort, but also it’s a very lonely place because, compared to other sports where it’s more of a team, here, this one, is very individual driven.”

To say Peréz’s tenure in the world’s most competitive motor racing category has been a monumental success would be to undersell the superstar’s legacy. Grand Prix victories at Monaco, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Singapore and Sakhir have made him a legend, cementing his place atop the sport’s most ambitious mountain, and he’s not done yet. Checo finished second in last year’s Drivers Championship behind teammate and three-time winner Max Verstappen, but in recent times, the pressure of performance has weighed heavy on his shoulders.

At this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, an event he won in 2022, Checo struggled through the practice sessions, qualifying in 18th place. He vowed to make amends and step things up for the race, but just a few seconds into lap one, Checo’s redemption arc came to an abrupt halt. A tight tussle with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen sent the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver’s car ploughing into the right-hand side barrier of turn three, destroying the gearbox and tearing the vehicle’s outer body to shreds.

The horrific accident sent shockwaves through the crowd of onlookers, each replay prompting further concerns from race fans. Remarkably, Peréz walked away from the crash unharmed, but the figurative scars remain. Speaking with him at the event, Peréz maintained an upbeat outlook, revealing that setbacks were nothing new to him. More important, was the ability to learn from those difficult moments.


“The main lesson I have learned is just to not get too carried away with the bad moments,” he said. “There will always be good and bad moments in your career, so it’s just about staying consistent with them and just going from there.”

For Peréz, a six-time Grand Prix winner and the most successful Mexican driver to ever compete in F1, the path to motor racing’s loftiest heights has been interesting, to say the least. The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver entered the category in a period of great transition, debuting after the retirement of Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher and before the true domination of Lewis Hamilton. He’s witnessed first-hand the mass evolution of the sport, from safety developments and rule changes to the pop culture phenomenon that is Drive to Survive.

“I remember when I started the sport was huge, but I think it has just gone a lot bigger and also the level, I think we’ve gone through a generation of drivers that probably are the most prepared in the history of the sport, in terms of the level everyone is operating at, and it’s something great to see,” he tells me. “I think the sport is in great hands for the next generation change because they’re very young, talented, very strong drivers.”

An elder statesman of the Formula One circuit, Peréz has watched the grid take on new life on more than one occasion. As he explains, the emergence of younger drivers like Charles Leclerc, Oscar Piastri and even his own teammate Max Verstappen has helped to redefine what F1 can be, reigniting fan interest in the sport.

“It’s just something great to have,” he said. “I think it’s also a lot of responsibility that you have, so it’s important to be able to get that in place, get it in the right place, and then always try to motivate younger generations. I think it’s also very important.”

Peréz, alongside reigning champion and teammate Max Verstappen, make up one of the most dynamic duos on the F1 grid. The smiling assassin and the flying Dutchman have formed an unparalleled connection that has delivered remarkable results both on and off the track, most notably through the pair’s partnership with TAG Heuer. The iconic Swiss luxury brand and Oracle Red Bull Racing team partner has served as the perfect foil for the reigning champions since 2016, a collaboration that has fuelled some of the most defining moments in the sport.

Just last year, the two iconic organisations announced an extension to their partnership, pointing to their shared core values and desire for excellence. At the time, CEO of LVMH Watches Frédéric Arnault commented that Oracle Red Bull Racing was born from the desire to disrupt the status quo in Formula 1, which has long been a cornerstone of the TAG Heuer business.

“This extension, the longest we have ever done, celebrates the incredible journey we have been sharing together, rooted in our joint passion for excellence and the constant pursuit of pushing the limits,” Arnault said. “We look forward to supporting Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez as they continue to rewrite the history books and creating new timepieces for the global fan base of Oracle Red Bull Racing.”

For Peréz, a superstar driver with the world at his feet, the sentiment rings truer now than ever. The 34-year-old legend has his sights set on world domination and he’s got the track record to make it happen.

“With the career I’ve had, I think I can be very privileged with what I’ve achieved in the sport, and it’s something that hopefully, in the near future, I can achieve more.”

DisclaimerThe author of this article, Nick Hall, was invited to attend the Monaco Grand Prix as a guest of TAG Heuer for the purposes of this feature.