Sergio Pérez goes by many names. He’s known as “Checo”; the “Mexican Wunderkind” and, judging by the crowd chanting his name, he can add “People's Choice”.
The prominent Mexican racing driver is firmly entrenched in the world of Formula One. Currently a racer for Team Red Bull Racing, Pérez’s racing prowess shines through with six remarkable victories in F1 Grand Prix races. His debut triumph occurred when driving for Racing Point at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix where he broke the record for the most starts before securing a race win, clocking in at 190.
Another defining moment in Pérez’s career happened at the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, where he clinched his inaugural Formula One pole position. This feat rewrote history by surpassing the record for the most races before claiming this coveted achievement, with a total of 215 races. Pérez’s journey in Formula One began back in 2011 when he made his debut as a Sauber driver. It was in the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix that he achieved his first podium finish, all the more remarkable considering his youthful age and outstanding performance, earning him the moniker of “Mexican Wunderkind”.
A significant chapter in Pérez’s career unfolded when he joined McLaren for the 2013 season. Despite his best efforts, the team failed to secure a single podium finish, leading to Pérez’s replacement by Kevin Magnussen for the 2014 season. In 2014, Force India secured Pérez’s talents with a noteworthy €15 million contract.
He remained loyal to the team even during challenging times when they faced administration problems in 2018, subsequently rebranding as the Racing Point team for the 2019 season. His commitment to Racing Point was further solidified in 2019 with a three-year contract extension. However, in September 2020, Racing Point announced Pérez’s departure at the end of the season, as they had signed the illustrious four-time F1 world champion, Sebastian Vettel, to take his place. In a remarkable turn of events, Pérez inked a deal with Red Bull Racing in December, securing his place on the team for the 2021 season and beyond. Currently, Pérez is under contract with Red Bull Racing until the culmination of the 2024 season, promising continued excitement and excellence in the world of Formula One.
We are at the TAG Heuer Motorsports Experience Pop-Up at Ion Orchard. Already a crowd has swelled to about 180. Eager faces framed by F1 gear; carrying signs of support for Sergio Pérez and Max Verstappen who are due to make an appearance later. A small child, decked out in Team Red Bull race suit and cap, perched on his father's shoulders as he held up a placard saying, "Sergio Pérez 11; you are my number #1".
I tell this to Pérez later at our interview at the pop-up.
ESQUIRE: Did you ever think that you would have the support of fans in a country like Singapore?
SERGIO PÉREZ: Yeah, it’s amazing. It’s great to get so much support from all around the world. You’d think that when you’re so far away from home, that nobody would recognise me, but here people know who I am. It’s funny to see that happen.
ESQ: Where is the furthest that you’ve been in the world where you’re surprised that people have recognised you?
SERGIO: Singapore is quite far from Mexico. So, this would be one of the furthest places.
ESQ: Throughout your career. What is the high point and low point for you?
SERGIO: Obviously winning—it is everything in the sport. Winning is the high point. But then, you would also go through the difficult beats, you know. Sometimes you’d have difficult moments.
ESQ: Then, how do you deal with the pressure, especially as a member of Team Red Bull?
SERGIO: Oh yeah, the pressure. That’s part of the job. We’d have to deliver at the right time and so on. So that makes it really tricky at times. On the track, I need to make sure that I arrive when I should, and deliver when I can. That is very important.
ESQ: This marks the 250th time for you as a racer. What does this milestone mean for you?
SERGIO: It means a lot because, to be able to race this much, means you’ve survived many years of the sport. It’s the pinnacle of what you have achieved.
ESQ: What do you want to do in future?
SERGIO: I want it to be related to sports, to be able to support new athletes in different sporting fields. And maybe form a business that’s away from racing. Maybe real estate. That’s something I will enjoy doing that’s not racing.
ESQ: Before starting a race, do you have any rituals or superstitions that you observe to psych yourself up?
SERGIO: Not really. I just make sure that I’m adequately stretched and warmed up. That’s what I do to get ready for the race.
ESQ: What’s your strategy for the race?
SERGIO: Singapore is exciting and also very unexpected. This circuit is challenging. The heat and a circuit with no straight stretch are tough but we hope to drive well.
ESQ: Do you remember the first watch you got?
SERGIO: Yes. The first watch I ever bought, I remember that it was with my salary that I earned during the summer. Once I got that paycheque, I went straight to the shop to buy that watch.
ESQ: (points to the timepiece on Pérez’s wrist) Is that a [TAG Heuer] Monaco?
SERGIO: (shows the watch dial) This one. This is the Monaco watch that I got when I won my race.
ESQ: What do you like about the Monaco?
SERGIO: Mainly for its precision. That level of detail that goes into the watch, that’s something that I really like and respect.
The very model that Pérez is wearing has its sandblasted black skeletonised dial accented by luminous turquoise highlights and scarlet lacquered hands.
At his appearance, TAG Heuer’s CEO Frédéric Arnault unveiled the Monaco Night Driver Chronograph Limited Edition. Encased in a Grade 5 titanium housing and adorned with a black diamondlike carbon coating, the Monaco Night Driver chronograph showcases TAG Heuer’s in-house Heuer 02 movement. This marks its first utilisation of Grade 5 titanium in a Monaco timepiece.
The chronograph features an anthracite circle set in a sophisticated grey opaline dial, with three distinct counters at the three, six, and nine o’clock positions. At the three and nine o’clock places, you’ll find the anthracite luminescent minute and hour chronograph counters, while a second indicator gracefully resides at six o’clock.
When darkness falls, the luminescent outer dial constituting the grey opaline section shines with a vivid blue luminescence. This mesmerising hue contrasts with the black-lacquered hour indices. The chronograph counters also adopt this enchanting luminescent blue, harmonising with the hour, minute and chronograph seconds hands. Bright dots are placed around the anthracite circle to represent the hours. Capping the “light show” on the dial are the anthracite TAG Heuer logo and the inscriptions “Monaco” and “Automatic”.
Limited to 600 pieces worldwide, the Monaco Chronograph Night Driver Limited Edition will be individually engraved and presented in a distinctive “nomad” travel pouch.