Force India adds Mexican connection to the mix with Perez signing

Sergio Perez with Vijay Mallya and Minister Miguel Angel Vilchis during the announcement at the Consul of Mexico

Sergio Perez with Vijay Mallya and Minister Miguel Angel Vilchis during the announcement at the Consul of Mexico

Force India, the asian nation’s only Formula 1 team, could become a lot more Mexican after signing Sergio Perez as one of their drivers on a multi-year contract.

Team co-owner and principal Vijay Mallya told reporters at the Mexican ambassador’s residence in central London on Thursday that the Guadalajara-born driver’s arrival would be reflected in the sponsors appearing on the cars and overalls.

“Obviously, the signing of Sergio opens up a whole new opportunity for us in that part of the world,” said the beer and spirits tycoon. “We will certainly target sponsors from Mexico and other Latin American countries.

“Traditionally, the cars and team kit have carried a lot of the brands of the owners of Sahara Force India…but that’s changing and, particularly with the new venues in F1, is likely to change even further going forward.”

Sergio Perez with Vijay Mallya

Sergio Perez with Vijay Mallya

Mallya owns 37.4 percent of India’s United Breweries Ltd, which makes the country’s biggest-selling Kingfisher beer.

The branding of Scotch Whisky maker Whyte&Mackay has been prominent on Force India cars since Mallya’s United Spirits bought the distiller, as well as the same company’s Vladivar vodka brand.

However, Britain’s Diageo acquired a controlling interest in United Spirits in July and has talked of selling those whisky assets to meet competition requirements.

F1 has dropped the Indian Grand Prix from next year’s calendar, with no guarantee of the race near New Delhi coming back in 2015, along with South Korea.

Mexico is in line to return in 2015 while the Middle East, where non-alcoholic fizz is sprayed on the post-race podiums in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, is increasingly flexing its financial muscle in the sport.

Sergio Perez is very popular in Mexico

Sergio Perez is very popular in Mexico

Perez has been backed by Mexican fixed line telephone operator Telmex,  throughout his career. Telmex is owned by billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil. The 23 year old driver is very popular in Mexico and has said that would continue at Force India.

“It’s between Force India and Telmex now to negotiate how they will be but Telmex has been part of my career since a long time ago so I expect them to be with me again,” he told Reuters.

“For sure there will be sponsors coming. There is a lot of interest in Mexico so there are going to be good sponsors who plan to come on board with my project.”

However, Mallya said that Perez, who joins after a difficult year at McLaren, had been signed on performance rather than the money he might bring in.

“We haven’t chosen any one of our two drivers because of any commercial backing at all,” said the drinks tycoon. “That’s against my basic philosophy.

“[Perez’s] presence opens up a whole new opportunity for us, which we will exploit going forward, but that is not a pre-condition for us having selected him.” (Reuters)

Subbed by AJN.

  • lawl

    last chance to prove yourself, Sergio…

  • The Pessimist

    “We haven’t chosen any one of our two drivers because of any commercial backing at all” got to believe Vijay since Force India never went after drivers with lucrative sponsorship while other teams courted drivers with big money.

  • Shin

    Good for Force India in many respects. Two young, talented, quick drivers to push each other and the team. More short term financial stability with AMX/Telmex/Claro sponsorship on board, and greater commercial appeal for the team going forward


    Well to be honest sergio is plus compared to Maldanado. He drove superbly last year. And this year he did pretty well in the last few races.

  • captain tortuga

    I think SFI could do very well next year, with The Hulk and Perez, given they have a good foundation from the start, and maybe some extra resources to keep developing, they might end up maybe 4-5th in the WCC. Higher is only possible if the merc engine indeed proves to be a tougher nut than the other engines.

  • matthew

    If sergio keeps the momentum going from his last few races, he will perform well. I think people aren’t giving him a fair chance. *points at lawl*

  • Mario

    The reason why Sergio perez was cut off from the Mc.Laren Team was the fact Jensen Button didn´t like him..the kid is “too damn fast”besides they have a long term contract with the British Prick!..Oh! by the way,Sergio never hold back in telling the Mc.Laren Engineers that the car was a piece of Shit! So there you go!..Relax and get ready to enjoy the ride.

  • Badman Jose

    captain tortuga,

    You can bet the farm that Mercedes will turn out super engine..They always have…


  • captain tortuga

    I sincerely hope so. Even though, it is not only the HP that counts next year, also fuel-economy (=washing my mouth right away=) tyre-management, and basic tyre-behavior, aero will be even more important, given that the wings are smaller, and that there will more restrictions, the small area’s left will be very significant in importance.. and some other stuff.. reliability.. 100hp extra is nice, but if it breaks down very often they don’t look very smug anymore..

  • matthew

    @mario You may be right, but I think magnussen has dirt on mclaren, and was going to spill the beans. We all saw how hard mclaren tried to get him a seat anywhere they could. Given mclarens poor morals, they obviously didn’t do it out of kindness.