Sergio Perez is a Mexican Formula 1 (F1) driver who competes for Red Bull Racing and is one of the richest racing car drivers in the world by net worth. He is seen not only as an excellent wingman to the team’s lead driver and reigning F1 world champion Max Verstappen but also as a formidable challenger to the Dutchman’s position.
Pérez, whose nickname is Checo, has been enjoying an excellent run at F1 for the last 12 years. He has ended up on the podium 32 times (till 23 July 2023) and has won six Grand Prix races so far. In the ongoing 2023 season calendar, he has been ahead of all the other drivers except season leader and teammate Max Verstappen. Known for his incredible sense of wheel management and never say die attitude, Pérez has shown strategic brilliance on multiple circuits.
Pérez started driving for Red Bull Racing in 2021. Due to his calibre as tactical support to Verstappen, the constructor has been a dominant force in F1 since then, winning the 2022 constructor’s championship and decisively leading the 2023 race calendar.
Early career of Sergio Perez
Sergio Michel Perez Mendoza was born in Guadalajara, Mexico on 26 January 1990. His father, Antonio Perez Garibay, is a former stock car racing driver and agent. The young Checo started racing when he was six years old, finishing second overall in his first karting season. He quickly climbed the ranks in karting championships, winning races in the Master Kadets, Shifter 125cc and Shifter 80cc class — the last one made him the youngest winner in the class.
The rising talent was spotted by the scouts of Escudería Telmex, the racing team founded and owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helú. The opportunity that Escudería Telmex brought him in 2003 turned the course of Checo’s life and formed an association with Slim that continues to this day. He started racing for a team backed by Telmex in the US-based Skip Barber National Championship in 2004, graduating from karting and marking the start of his professional racing career.
The following year, at the age of 15, he moved to Europe to compete in the German Formula BMW ADAC series with Team Rosberg. He finished sixth overall in the competition in the second year of racing in 2006. He competed in a single round of the A1 Grand Prix for A1 Team Mexico on the Shanghai International Circuit in China in April 2007 before entering Formula 3 with the T-Sport team in the British Formula 3 Championship (National Class).
He dominated the National Class of the championship, winning 14 of the 22 races in the season and ending on the podium 19 times. By comparison, his 376 points were more than what the year’s Championship Class winner Marko Asmer secured. To date, 2007 has been the best-performing year for Checo. He was promoted to the Championship Class in 2008, where he finished fourth overall with four wins and seven podium finishes.
He spent the next three years in the GP2 Series, which he ended on a high note by finishing second overall at the 2010 GP2 Series considered the second-tier of the Formula 1 feeder championship.
Turning into a Formula 1 star
Sergio Pérez became the first Mexican since Héctor Rebaque in 1981 and the fifth overall to race in F1 when he joined the Sauber team for the 2011 season. Although the first season wasn’t to his expectations, he quickly found his footing and secured three podium finishes for Sauber in 2012.
He replaced British racing legend Lewis Hamilton at McLaren in 2013. The following year, he joined Force India, for whom he raced for the next five years. He was instrumental in keeping the team relevant in the F1 by securing at least one podium finish in all but the 2017 season and remained among the top 10 drivers at the end of each season with over 100 points in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Driving for Racing Point, a renamed Force India, in 2019, Checo maintained his top 10 overall standing though he could not finish on the podium in any race. The year 2020 was remarkable for Pérez. He secured his first podium finish for the team at Turkish Grand Prix. He then went on to make history by winning his first F1 race at the Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain. His win made him the first Mexican driver in 50 years to win an F1 race. He ended the season at his then career-best fourth place overall.
Following the end of the season, Checo joined Red Bull Racing where he has been breaking records since his first season for the team in 2021. He secured his second F1 win at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and ended up on the podium five times to maintain his place as the fourth-best F1 driver of the 2021 season. In 2022, he became the greatest-ever Mexican driver in F1 when he won his third Grand Prix at Monaco in May to surpass Pedro Rodríguez.
He didn’t stop at that; Checo won the race at the Singapore Grand Prix — famous for being the first night race in F1 — and finished on the podium 12 times to earn a career-best 305 points as well as the third place overall in driver’s rankings. He extended his Formula 1 record as a Mexican through 2023, winning the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with a total of six podium finishes out of 11 races held till 23 July 2023.
Net worth of Sergio Perez: Salary, endorsements and assets
There is no doubt that Sergio Pérez is a wealthy F1 driver. His performance on the circuit has been extraordinary, granting Red Bull Racing a perfect 1-2 combination when paired with two-time champion Max Verstappen.
Although there is no agreement on the exact net worth of Sergio Pérez, some reports suggest that he has a career net worth of USD 30 million. Others peg the figure to around USD 50 million. He has long enjoyed the financial backing of the 83-year-old Carlos Slim Helú, whose own net worth of over USD 100 billion makes him the richest Mexican and one of the richest people in the world.
What is the salary of Sergio Pérez in F1?
F1 drivers do not receive the same salary. According to data by Spotrac, a salary tracker across some of the biggest sporting associations, federations and leagues, the compensation varies from as low as USD 1 million to as high as USD 55 million. Drivers in the same team may have salaries at two ends of the spectrum. For instance, Mercedes pays Lewis Hamilton a salary of USD 35 million for the 2023 season, while it hands out just about USD 8 million to George Russell.
Thus, while Max Verstappen draws a salary of USD 55 million — the highest by any in F1 in 2023 — Sergio Pérez receives USD 10 million as his salary. This makes Checo the joint sixth-highest earner by salary (with Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas) in the 2023 F1 season. Pérez signed a two-year extension with Red Bull in May 2022. It means that he will certainly continue to draw the same salary through 2024 when the contract is scheduled to end. But the eventual earnings for any F1 driver also include bonuses.
According to Forbes, his solid performance in the 2022 season helped Pérez earn USD 16 million as a performance bonus. It made him the fourth-highest earner in the season after Verstappen, Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, with a total of USD 26 million.
Sergio Perez’s sponsors and brand endorsements
Being the greatest Mexican F1 driver in history has made Sergio Pérez one of the biggest sporting icons in his home country. He is the face of some of the most famous businesses in Mexico and an investor in Mexican companies.
His influence on the brands has also helped some of them come on board as sponsors for Red Bull Racing. In 2022, he signed up with WME — the longest-running talent agency in the world. The agency has pledged to grow his brand partnership portfolio. It is the same agency which signed Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, as its client in April 2023.
Although the exact details of the several deals he has or the earnings he receives from each are unclear, given his fame in his home country, his stature as a major F1 driver and the sheer number of brands he endorses alongside those that are linked to Red Bull Racing certainly add to the high net worth of Sergio Pérez.
Telmex is the most significant among all the brands that Pérez is associated with. The Mexican telecom major has been his backer for the longest period, almost three decades according to a 2021 article by ESPN Deportes.
The association began early in Pérez’s career, through his father who was trying to get the Slim family to sponsor racers he represented. Eventually, the Slim family became the strongest support for Pérez and led him to leave Mexico to compete in bigger racing tournaments, starting, of course, with their own team, Escudería Telmex.
Telmex is one of the biggest companies in Mexico, operating most of the telecommunication systems in the country. It was a state-owned enterprise until 1990 when Carlos Slim Helú’s Grupo Carso bought and privatised it. By 2011, Telmex became a subsidiary of Helú’s América Móvil — one of the world’s largest telecommunication companies both by subscribers and market capital.
Just before Pérez joined Red Bull Racing, the Formula 1 constructor signed América Móvil as a sponsor. In fact, Marcela Velasco, the chief marketing officer of América Móvil, underlined the Checo factor in his statement. “It is with great satisfaction that we continue to support Sergio Pérez and that we now do that with the Red Bull Racing Team. Checo arrives at the Team based on the strength of the results he has achieved and it is with a huge amount of pride that we race alongside him in this great Team for 2021,” said Velasco.
Just like América Móvil, Red Bull Racing also inked a deal with INTERprotección just before the start of the 2021 Formula 1 season with Pérez. The deal meant that INTERprotección became a full-season partner with Red Bull Racing, after having appeared as a sponsor for three races in the 2018 season.
Founded in 1978, INTERprotección is one of Mexico’s leading insurance broker and risk-management corporations. According to a 2021 Forbes Mexico article, the company started sponsoring Pérez 15 years ago.
In May 2023, he was named the brand ambassador of Nescafé’s Taster’s Choice, which is a premium coffee type in Mexico made from 100 per cent Arabica beans.
View this post on Instagram
“Dedication and effort always deserve recognition. I am proud to be an ambassador of NESCAFÉ Taster’s Choice with whom I share the values of excellence that are enjoyed in each cup,” Pérez shared on his social media accounts following the announcement by the brand, which is owned by Nestlé.
Tourism ambassador of Jalisco
Checo was first named the tourism ambassador of his home state of Jalisco in 2017. Jalisco’s capital is Guadalajara, which has one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world. In February 2023, he was again chosen by the state to represent it internationally.
Jalisco is famous for its emerald coast with beaches near the port city of Puerto Vallarta, such as Playa Conchas China, Playa Colomitos, Playa Caballo and Playa Quimixto. Mountain ranges such as the volcanic Sierra Madre Occidental and the Sierra Madre del Sur span the length and breadth of the state. It is also known for its culture and cuisine.
Kavak México, a used car marketplace, is Mexico’s first unicorn company. Perez joined as a partner and shareholder of the brand in February 2021 at the invitation of CEO Carlos García Ottati.
The announcement came just months after Kavak reached unicorn status with USD 1.15 billion valuation. Just two months after Pérez joined the company, it was revalued at USD 4 billion on the back of a fresh investment of USD 485 million.
View this post on Instagram
The new valuation made Kavak one of the top five start-ups in all of Latin America, with a total capital of more than USD 900 million.
The Mexican tequila brand announced in March 2022 that Checo has become its brand ambassador. “PATRÓN shares my relentless desire to innovate in my sport and pride for our country. I have much respect for the tremendous lengths the PATRÓN familia goes to achieve simply perfect tequila,” he said in a statement.
Assets that Sergio Perez owns
A Formula 1 driver of Sergio Pérez’s stature is expected to own multiple luxury and fast cars. Reports suggest that he indeed has some of the finest machines that money can buy. But unlike other famous sportspersons, Pérez either doesn’t own too many properties or not much is known about them barring one.
Cars that Checo drives
Most of the cars that F1 driver Sergio Pérez has in his collection are McLarens. These include a USD 1.5 million McLaren P1, a USD 1 million McLaren 720S and a USD 750,000 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. There is also a Porsche Panamera, whose latest model starts at USD 92,000, and a BMW X7 SUV, which starts at around USD 82,000.
The fastest car in his garage is a Bugatti Chiron, worth around USD 3 million. The supercar has a 16-cylinder engine delivering 1500hp. Hailed universally as one of the greatest supercars ever made, the Chiron has an astonishing top speed of 420 km/h and acceleration of 0-100 km/h in 2.5 seconds. Chiron aside, perhaps the star attraction among the four-wheelers that Checo has is a first-generation Honda NSX. Marketed in North America as Acura NSX, Pérez has been seen driving around in a red version on some occasions.
The car was an immensely popular model of its time from the 1990s and early 2000s. It is particularly known for its association with Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna, who received one as a gift from Honda for his championship accomplishments in the motorsport. It was Senna who advised Honda on how to improve the car, which the company applied to all future models.
A first-generation car would mean that it was made in 1991. It was a very fast car for its time. Powered by a 3.0 24V Vtec (NA1) engine, it gave a top speed of 270 km/h and acceleration of 0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds.
Houses of Sergio Perez
In late 2018, Rachel Brookes interviewed Checo for Sky Sports at the latter’s only known home — a luxury condominium in the resort town of Puerto Vallarta. Some reports suggest that the condo measures around 1,394 sq metres. The Formula 1 star offered a glimpse of his luxury abode from whose terrace the views of the wide open sea and the mountains in the backdrop made for a picturesque setting.
“It’s nice to have a place like this. I really get to talk away from the sport, from the routine, from the job,” he told Brookes.
Checo apparently has a personal gym complete with the equipment needed for a Formula 1 driver. His wife, Carola Martinez, who he married in 2018 stays with him in the house as do their three children.
In 2012, a year after he started racing in F1, Sergio Perez and his family, founded the Fundación Checo Pérez, or Checo Pérez Foundation, with an aim to support orphans and children with cancer. Sergio’s sister, Paola Pérez, serves as the president of the foundation.
Its stated vision is to be “the leading altruistic Foundation in Mexico capable of establishing inter-institutional relationships for the management of projects and support programs that provide opportunities to minors so that they can realize their dreams and have a better future.”
It has a presence in Checo’s hometown of Guadalajara. The foundation has built shelters for children and carries out programmes for at-risk or underprivileged kids. It also works with other charitable groups and religious bodies such as Missionaries of Christ to help children across the region find shelter in different safe houses.
Besides children, the foundation also works towards helping Mexicans hit by natural disasters. As part of it, the charity is constructing houses for those displaced by the earthquakes of September 2017 in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
(Main and Featured images: Sergio Pérez/@SChecoPerez/Twitter)
This article was first published in Augustman Singapore.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Sergio Pérez’s net worth in 2023 comes to an estimated USD 30 million to USD 50 million.
Answer: Sergio Pérez earned USD 26 million in salary and bonuses in the 2022 season, driving for Red Bull Racing in Formula 1.
Answer: Max Verstappen earns more that Sergio Pérez. The former, who is a two-time F1 champion, has a net worth of USD 210 million. He earned USD 60 million on the track in the 2022 season.