Driving ambition: Sergio ‘Checo’ Pérez

Mexican F1 racing driver Sergio ‘Checo’ Pérez tells about his tie-up with leading Tequila producer Patrón, and why the dedication he has for his sport is mirrored by the brand’s devotion to making the best possible spirits.

You partnered with Patrón in 2022. What attracted you to the brand? I was really excited for the opportunity to partner with Patrón. It has always been a brand that I have admired – Tequila is a huge part of the culture in Mexico. It’s what we drink to celebrate, with dinner, or just catching up with friends. So it was a really natural partnership, and for me, it was especially important that I worked with the leading Tequila brand, which is consistently striving to be the best – and that is Patrón. Patrón is one of the few brands that still makes Tequila the hard way, by hand, without artificial flavourings or ingredients. It is handcrafted by 2,500 people, masterfully combining three natural ingredients, all while preserving traditional production methods at Hacienda Patrón in Jalisco, Mexico. The brand has this incredible passion, tireless dedication to perfection, and is extremely proud of its Mexican roots. We share this passion for our culture, our country, and our familia. Patrón has set the standard for excellence to create the finest Tequila in the world and are leaders in the category. What similarities do you see between your skills as an F1 driver, and the Tequila makers behind Patrón? I think my passion and dedication to perfection can be seen on and off the track, similarly to what you see behind the scenes at Patrón with its master distiller and incredible production team. They have one goal in mind – to create the finest Tequila in the world. I also have one goal in mind – to get onto the podium and win the championship. There is a lot of focus, years of experience and dedication to perfection, and the drive to keep going. That is essential in both F1 and how Patrón produces Tequila. Not anyone can do this, it requires skill, mastery and passion. Patrón does not take shortcuts to compromise the quality of their Tequila. They put in the hard work, just as I do as an F1 driver. Generally speaking, having the support of my familia at every moment throughout my career has always been important to me, and it is something Patrón places significant value on too. Passionately handcrafted by their own dedicated familia, bold innovators who maintain a tireless dedication to achieve perfection in every drop. Teamwork and familia is embedded in the heart and soul of Patrón, creating simply perfect Tequila, and it is something we couldn't win F1 championships without. Have you visited Hacienda Patrón? Of course – it was incredible. I was really blown away, and, honestly, can’t wait to go back. I was born and raised in Guadalajara, which is not too far from the home of Patrón, in Atotonilco El Alto – the highlands of Jalisco. Visiting Hacienda Patrón was inspiring, to closely see the team hand-harvesting the 100% Weber Blue Agave, and the traditional, handcrafted processes involved in making Patrón Tequila, I definitely felt part of the Patrón familia. I was most impressed by the people; there are more than 2,500 that craft Patrón by hand, which is amazing. They really go to extraordinary lengths to achieve a true, artisanal, craft production process. There is so much precision and care that goes into making Patrón, from individual labelling, numbering, and the inspection of each bottle – they have set the standard for excellence. Being able to visit Hacienda Patrón was eye opening – not only did I get to enjoy some incredible cocktails with friends, but it helped me understand more of the Tequila-making process, and how Patrón has created the 100% Weber Blue Agave category. What is something both F1 fans and Tequila fans might not know about you? Well, probably that I am a pretty regular guy. I love to spend my free time with my family and friends. I really love to go out and play some golf. I am not looking to have a career in motorsports once I retire. I actually want to stay away from the track, and try new things. I want to experience more challenges in my life, other than driving a race car or find other activities. What does it feel like to race? It’s no secret that F1 racing is both physically and mentally demanding, yet highly rewarding too. When everything goes to plan, you experience a great sense of relief, and are thankful for the dedication you and the team put into creating that perfect moment. More often than not however, unexpected obstacles and challenges are thrown your way that require you and the team to be quick-thinking, nimble, and agile. At times like this, we remind ourselves that we are racing against ourselves, because we are our own toughest critics; we overcome challenges by refusing to compromise, and never quitting in the process. What are your hopes and expectations for the 2023 F1 season? So far, the team’s performance has exceeded even our own expectations. To currently stand in the top five of the drivers’ championship is testament to the lessons learnt from previous seasons. My wins in Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia were the perfect start to the season. This early success is reflective of the passion and dedication that my team and I have put into training. Patrón has set the standard for excellence as the undisputed leader of the super-premium Tequila category and I want to incorporate this same confidence and expertise, together with my team, into the rest of the season. I am delighted that Patrón has also joined forces with the team as the first official global spirits partner of the Oracle Red Bull Racing team. Patrón is the world’s number-one Tequila, and we are the world’s number-one race team – there is a natural synergy and drive for excellence between both familias, and we’re excited to work together more closely. If you could share a Patrón drink with anyone, who would it be with? When celebrating my racing successes, I love to drink my favourite Patrón cocktail – Patrón Silver and Soda. Very simple to make – just two ingredients, but I love it as it allows the Patrón Silver Tequila to shine through with its fresh taste. Patrón Silver has the taste of soft and sweet 100% Weber Blue Agave, with hints of citrus and white pepper, and is handmade in small batches, which makes it smooth and easily mixable. For those long summer nights, however, I love the Patrón Perfect Paloma – it’s Mexico’s national drink so naturally, I enjoy making it for people to try. Earlier in my career, I remember driving all around Mexico with my dad and my brother. Nowadays, when we get a moment to see each other, we like to raise a glass and savour the nostalgia together. What is your proudest career moment to date? Each Grand Prix win I’ve had since 2020, most recently at the Baku street course in Azerbaijan, has been a highlight. However, to be world champion is something I dream of, and is one of the main reasons I continue relentlessly crafting my passion for F1 driving. Working with Patrón is also a highlight, of course, a brand that truly reminds me of home, which is somewhere I can’t be throughout the jam-packed racing calendar. So it’s an honour to represent them and their values. To them, I am not just Checo Pérez the racing driver, but part of the Patrón familia. What do you hope to achieve together with Patrón in the coming year? Patrón’s partnership with Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates two iconic leading brands coming together for a stellar collaboration that F1 has not seen before. I’m looking forward to seeing what this year’s edition is for the upcoming 2023 release of the Patrón Mexican Heritage Tin, a limited edition tin that holds Patrón Silver. Perfect for gifting to your familia, it celebrates Mexican culture and creative perfection, honouring the traditions of Mexico and bringing them to life artistically. As a native Mexican, I’m very passionate about and excited to see who the Mexican artist they’ve partnered with is. Salud to Patrón, perfection, and winning Grand Prixs.

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