Sahara Force India’s Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez heads into the Mexican Grand Prix this weekend, his home race having finished the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in eighth place and speaking ahead of the race this weekend, Perez commented by saying:
Mexico City may be quite far from my city of Guadalajara, but I go there very often for professional reasons. It’s a city I love and there’s so much going on: the best restaurants, so many sights and so many things to do. It is a huge city and sometimes traffic makes going from one side of town to the other feel like an adventure! It is, not surprisingly, one of my favourite moments in the season and last year’s was special not just for me, but for my team and for anyone who came to the race.“I have no doubt this year’s event will be even better than last year – expectations are huge following the success of 2015. For me, the biggest surprise was the passion of the fans: all the affection I received, all the messages and all the incredible moments I experienced are what really made an impression on me. I am so happy to go back there.“The track itself is brilliant: my two favourite parts are the fast esses and the Foro Sol. It’s a very technical circuit, with some tricky corners: at the speeds we are doing, managing the car is very complicated and it’s important not to lose your rhythm. There is no key place where you can make or break your lap, except perhaps the slow section inside the stadium: you have to nail the combinations of corners to be able to string together a good lap. I am really looking forward to trying the track surface – last year, the asphalt was completely new, so this year it should be a big improvement.
I am looking forward to going back to Mexico. Last year the whole race week was a huge thrill and you could feel all the excitement from the Mexican people as Formula One was coming back after more than 20 years. The happiness and enthusiasm were incredible, and the vibe we could feel was great – I had goosebumps the first time I got to the track and saw all the fans. I hope this year we’ll have a similar experience: I know what we had in 2015 will be hard to match, but I trust the locals!“The circuit facilities are nice, even though the track is perhaps not one of the most challenging. The first sector, though, is fun to drive – turns one to three make up a good combination: it’s a triple corner, quite slow in the race but exciting in qualifying, as it gets quicker with lots of grip and low fuel.“The altitude makes our set-up choice interesting: we have a high-downforce package on the car, but the thin air results in a downforce level similar to what we have in Monza. The car feels loose and very floaty, and massively quick in a straight line: last year we went over 360kph on the main straight. We had a good result last year and hopefully we can go even better this year.
We are really looking forward to the weekend in Mexico, a race that has already become a favourite for everyone in Formula One. Last year, the event felt like a huge celebration of our sport and we are looking forward to experiencing the same incredible levels of passion again.“Off track, this is one of the most important races of our season. We have a large number of Mexican team partners and we are keen to get a special result in their home race. Of course, we also have the Checo-factor: we saw all the fans cheering for him in Austin and we know of the huge following he has in his home country, so we expect the majority of the people in the stands to be supporting us. It will feel like having a home advantage and we hope to contribute to a very enjoyable race.“On track, however, this is a race like any other: we need to focus on our job and do it right to move one step closer to our objective of finishing fourth in the championship. The characteristics of the track should suit us and I expect us to be fighting for points.