BY CHERYL TAY
Touted for a move to top teams like Ferrari and McLaren, Sergio Perez of the Sauber Formula 1 team shook his head when asked if he has been presented with any offers. First he was linked to Ferrari because of his involvement with the Ferrari Driver Academy, then he was said to be Plan B for McLaren should Lewis Hamilton not renew his contract.
The 22-year-old Mexican made his debut in Formula 1 in 2011 and earned his first podium finish at this year's Malaysian Grand Prix. Taking two more podium finishes after that, Sergio told me more about himself when he was here last weekend for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Q: How do you feel about the season so far?
A: Very good, I'm very happy with my season so far. I've had three incredible podium finishes and there are still six races to go. I'm definitely very motivated and I'm looking forward to it a lot.
Q: Were you expecting to do this well?
A: I was definitely hoping but I never expected such a season so far. Then again, anything can happen from now on. We just need to keep pushing and keep being motivated.
Q: There has been a lot of talks about different teams approaching you — what do you have to say about that?
A: Nothing, nothing really. I mean there are a lot of rumours. When I have a good race, there are always rumours around. When I have a bad race, then nobody speaks about me so it's good that they speak about me sometimes.
Q: Do you feel happy that you are being noticed and people are talking about you?
A: Definitely it's good but the biggest motivation I have at the moment is that we have a very competitive car.
Q: What is your motivation? What keeps you going? What makes you want more?
A: It is very easy to find motivation in the position I am in. I have a whole country behind me, I have a lot of support from my people and my team is doing a fantastic job. It's impossible not to be motivated.
Q: What's the most challenging thing about motorsports?
A: To make it into Formula 1 first of all and then to succeed in Formula 1. There are only 24 places and to succeed in this world is not easy.
Q: What is the most challenging thing about racing?
A: To be on the limit and not making any mistakes.
Q: At which point in your life did you know that you will make it to Formula 1?
A: Till I made it really. You have no guarantee of anything until you really make it.
Q: Racing has been a big part of your life, how has it developed you as a person?
A: A lot, really a lot. It helps me in different ways. You need to mature very quickly at a very young age.
Q: Most memorable race or season or experience?
A: I really enjoyed my time in British Formula 3. I had a really good year and a good team. It was really like a family. I also had a really good team in GP2, where it was most enjoyable even though I didn't win the championship. It was a very small team and every victory for us was crazy.
Q: Do you have to watch what you eat?
A: Sometimes; I cannot afford too many desserts. I love desserts like tiramisu and chocolate! With my weight and height I don't have a problem but if I have too many of them I would run into a problem.
Q: What sports do you do?
A: Cycling, running; I try to do everything really.
Q: Do you watch any sports?
A: Yeah I like football, tennis and golf. I like Tiger Woods.
Q: One track that you want to race on?
A: After Formula 1, if there is one track I would love to try, it's Formula 3 in Macau. It's a race that I have always wanted to do but for some reason such as budget, I never had the chance to.
Q: One thing in life to try?
A: I want to jump out of the plane — skydiving!
Q: Are you allowed to do it now?
A: If they don't know it's ok!
Q: If you could change something about Formula 1, would you?
A: Probably to have a better atmosphere as sometimes it can get too strict. It would be good to have more fun between everybody; the media, the drivers and so on. Everything is about a certain time and a fixed schedule. I'm not saying this from a driver point of view, I have enough fun. I'm saying it would be nice to have more interaction with the media and photographers for example.
Q: Your thoughts on women in racing?
A: Nice. I mean if they like it and they have the talent. My boss is a woman so I have no problem with that.
Q: What about women drivers in general?
A: Sometimes they can be very crazy.
Q: Would you let a woman drive you around?
A: Yeah no problem; it depends how willing she is to take the risk!
Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at www.cheryl-tay.com.