Perez heads into 'hugely important' home race

Whoever wins this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, there’s little question that the real star of the show will be Sergio Perez, who will doubtless be besieged by thousands of adoring fans at his home event.

The 29-year-old originally hails from Guadalajara, the capital of the state of Jalisco, and has always been a passionate supporter of holding a Formula 1 race in the country.

“The race in Mexico is a hugely important weekend for me,” the SportPesa Racing Point driver said. “It’s my home race and I always feel very proud to see Formula 1 back in Mexico.

“We’ve just had the notice that the race contract has been extended for another three years, which is great news for the sport and for Mexico.”

The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez event has always been a popular one, having won four straight ‘Best Promoter’ awards at the end-of-season FIA gala prize giving.

“Everybody tells me how much they love the race – my colleagues, the media and the fans,” Perez agreed. “It’s our chance to show everybody the Mexican way of life and how much we love sports.”

The track layout is famous for its stadium section, and for the high altitude which makes it more difficult for driver and car alike.

“The track is a pretty challenging one, especially when you consider we are driving the cars at a high altitude,” Perez concurred.

“It’s tough on the drivers physically and it’s hard work for the power unit as well because the air is so thin.

“I think the final sector is my favourite part of the lap – the fast and flowing section, which can be very tricky, and it’s easy to make a mistake through there.

“Because of the altitude, you have much less downforce on the car and the car can sometimes get quite loose through those fast corners.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Racing Point F1 Team RP19.

“Overtaking is never easy, but I think the best opportunity is into Turn 1 – that’s where we’ve seen most of the moves being made.

“The final sector also has the stadium section and when it’s full of fans the atmosphere is like nothing else.

“Each time I drive through there, even during practice, I can hear the fans and feel their support,” he added.

Last time out in Suzuka, a problematic qualifying session left Perez starting from 17th place on the grid. However he was able to battle his way into the points by the finish which saw him classified ninth – despite contact with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly on the final lap.

Perez is currently in equal 10th place in the drivers standings with four races remaining in 2019, tied on points with Nico Hulkenberg and Lando Norris.

Racing Point itself heads into the weekend in seventh place in the constructors championship, and needs just five points to overhaul Toro Rosso.

“We expect to be competitive and to be fighting for points on Sunday,” predicted team principal and CEO Otmar Szafnauer.

“The car has evolved significantly over the last couple of months and Mexico City is another chance to demonstrate the progress we have made recently.”

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Racing Point: We expect to be competitive

Racing Point preview the Mexican Grand Prix, round 18 of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Lance Stroll: “Mexico is a really fun event. The fans are great and they really help make the race special with the atmosphere they create. Even on the Friday, you see full grandstands and can feel the energy of the crowd.

“Away from the track, the city is awesome too. It’s a busy place, with lots going on, and I definitely enjoy exploring and trying the Mexican food – you can’t beat a good taco! I’ve obviously been to Mexico City a few times now for the race, but I also visited Punta Mita a few years ago for a holiday and played on the golf course. It’s a beautiful place.

“Mexico City is up there as one of my favourite circuits of the year. I enjoy driving the car in high altitude conditions and you can really notice the difference because the car feels more nervous. It just adds another challenge for the drivers.

“It’s quite a simple track – sort of like a go-kart track with some long straights linked by some low-speed corners. It’s quite technical in places and there are overtaking opportunities. I think we have good potential in the car for these final few races and Mexico should suit us quite well.”

Sergio Perez: “The race in Mexico is a hugely important weekend for me. It’s my home race and I always feel very proud to see Formula 1 back in Mexico. We’ve just had the notice that the race contract has been extended for another three years, which is great news for the sport and for Mexico. Everybody tells me how much they love the race – my colleagues, the media and the fans. It’s our chance to show everybody the Mexican way of life and how much we love sports.

“The track is a pretty challenging one – especially when you consider we are driving the cars at a high altitude. It’s tough on the drivers physically and it’s hard work for the power unit as well because the air is so thin.

“I think the final sector is my favourite part of the lap – the fast and flowing section, which can be very tricky, and it’s easy to make a mistake through there. Because of the altitude, you have much less downforce on the car and the car can sometimes get quite loose through those fast corners.

“The final sector also has the stadium section and when it’s full of fans the atmosphere is like nothing else. Each time I drive through there, even during practice, I can hear the fans and feel their support.

“Overtaking is never easy, but I think the best opportunity is into Turn 1 – that’s where we’ve seen most of the moves being made.”

Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal: “Mexico has been a fantastic addition to the calendar and, over the last five years, has become one of the most popular races of the season. The atmosphere inside the circuit is unlike any other and, away from the track, we’re treated to some great hospitality. I personally don’t think you can beat a good Chimichanga!

“As a team, we enjoy great support in Mexico – especially because it’s a home race for Sergio – and the energy of the crowd is something that the whole team feeds off. We expect to be competitive and to be fighting for points on Sunday. The car has evolved significantly over the last couple of months and Mexico City is another chance to demonstrate the progress we have made recently.”


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Racing Point to shift resources to 2020 car after Singapore

SportPesa Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer says the pink outfit will bring a final development update to its RP19 racer in Sinagpore before switching its focus to its 2020 contender.

A new package of aero updates helped bring Racing Point some much needed performance at Hockenheim earlier this summer, and progress has followed in Hungary and at Spa where Sergio Perez qualified 7th and concluded his race P6.

The team will likely run at Monza a similar configuration to Spa as both venues are low downforce, top speed tracks, before the final batch of upgrades will be implemented at Marina Bay in Singapore.

“We’ve made some significant progress over the last couple of months and the new direction we have taken with the updates since Germany is paying off,” said Szafnauer in the team’s Italian Grand Prix preview.

“We will bring further elements of our new aero philosophy in Singapore before we shift all our resources to the 2020 car.

“As ever, the middle of the grid remains incredibly tight,” added the American.

“With the points being spread pretty evenly across a number of teams it’s not easy to make up a deficit, but we won’t give up.

“We’re only 11 points away from fifth place, for example, so there’s everything to play for with eight races to go.”

©RacingPoint

Szafnauer is expecting Racing Point to be in the running for a good bag of points in Italy.

“Few tracks test a car to the limit as much as Monza does,” he said.

“The focus is on top speed, but it’s also a big test for the brakes. I think we can be competitive again and we arrive in Monza determined to build on the momentum of our Spa result.”

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