This week Sergio Perez shared his memories about how 15 years ago he was kicked out of Red Bull’s tests, because he was too slow. And that short story brought some memories.
I was writing news for a local website when Perez was racing in GP2. I know, long time ago, but it doesn’t matter. So, the times of Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado.
Back than both were known for their aggressive style of driving and for causing incidents. Those two had money and were aggressive on race track. And if you don’t know, race fans usually don’t like racers with money who creates, let’s say, chaos on track. Even though most of us know, that you have to have lots of money if you want to race on a high level.
So when both of them came to Formula-1, not everyone were very happy about that. Maldonado and his Venezuelan oil money went to Williams and Perez with Carlos Slim’s money went to Sauber. But it’s not about money.
Before Perez went to F-1, he was already a member of Ferrari’s Drivers Academy (FDA). So that and his sponsors helped him to step up from GP2 to F-1.
Maldonado and Perez were still aggressive. One more than another. With time Perez have changed, but for good. He was still aggressive, but used that aggressiveness for his own good, not creating a chaos. Different story about Maldonado. He won a race in F-1, but for most F-1 fans Pastor was a synonymous with a crash.
Back then when he was racing in GP2, there was a story about his driving style and his actions on track. It said, that Pastor’s results got better after he became less aggressive. Well, that was just one of few reasons why his results got better. The thing was, if you can learn from mistakes and change your driving style, you can reach better results.
After few years people’s opinion about Perez have changed. And Pastor was... well, still Pastor. Perez didn’t became a most popular driver. But he learned how to use his aggressive driving style for his own good. He became a better driver. Perez managed to reach good results, few times finished on a podium with teams that were not strongest ones. Far from it.
And all those years spent in F-1 were not easy for Checo (Perez’s nickname). Even with all those money from Mexico, there were few times when he didn’t know if he will be in F-1 next year.
In 2013 he left FDA so he could sign with McLaren. Big opportunity for Perez. Sadly, wrong time, wrong place.
Then there were Force India times. Still hanging in F-1. But few years ago Force India had some serious problems with money and almost disappeared from F-1. Team was saved, had new owners, Perez signed new long term contract and... at the end of last year he had to leave a team, because Aston Martin, previously known as Force India and Racing Point, just wanted to sign a contract with Sebastian Vettel. No hard feelings, just business.
Once again, people were asking if Perez will be racing in F-1 next year.
Red Bull wasn’t happy with Alex Albon (that’s a different and long story), so they signed Perez. A contract with a top team. Big opportunity? Maybe. Will see.
It’s interesting to see how people’s life can change. Checo... from aggressive and sometimes unlikable, to a good driver who really knows how to manage tires and be strong on a race day when it matters the most. It’s not always about a money or your driving style. You just have to learn from your mistakes, learn how to adopt to certain things, be patience and wait for your moment. Like Perez did many times. Maybe this year will not be his best, but like Checo said, he has nothing to lose.
And of course - the Red Bull. Kicked out Perez from testing, because he was too slow and signed him 15 years later. No one is saying they did wrong back then. It’s just all those Red Bull actions sometimes puts a smile on your face. Just remember, they kicked out Daniil Kvyat then sign him few years later. They kicked out Alex Albon then sign him later. Now it’s Perez’s turn.
No one knows if we will see him in F-1 next year. At least we know he can win.
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Matteo GrossoLeadership & Transformation Coach | Podcaster | Life & Business StrategistSome time ago
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