F1 media harsher on ’lazy Latino’ drivers - Perez
"Other drivers have similar problems and it is hardly talked about"
Sergio Perez has doubled-down on his suspicion that he is subject to greater criticism in Formula 1 because he is Mexican.
After winning in Singapore, the 32-year-old from Guadalajara said he hoped the victory would silence his critics after "a bit of a rough patch" during the course of his second season for Red Bull.
When asked about that in Japan, he reiterated his suspicion that it is harder for "Latino" Formula 1 drivers to earn the respect of the media.
"Whenever you have a bad race or a sort of dip, like any driver does, you always hear more criticism if the driver is Latino," Perez told the Spanish newspaper AS.
"Other drivers have similar problems and it is hardly talked about. I’ve felt this way at times all through my career.
"But the media is also a source of motivation," he insisted.
When asked to elaborate, Perez said: "Sometimes it is not being taken as seriously. It’s said that because he is Mexican then he is lazy, that is the culture.
"You’re Mexican so you can’t compete against the best drivers in the world. I felt that especially strongly in the early years of my career.
"But it’s always nice to prove again that anyone can get to the top," he added, "even if I’m not here for people to give me credit.
"But people see a result and criticise without understanding my situation and everything I’m dealing with. That’s what I mean. This is a world of very small margins that make very big differences."
Perez said his personal slump set in during the course of the 2022 season, when the direction of the Red Bull car development swung in Max Verstappen’s favour.
"I worked very hard during the year," he insists.
"The car changed a lot. It got out of hand for me and we had to work very hard with the engineers to understand what had happened.
"I hope it will be a lesson for the future, together with the team, to maintain this level of consistency and be able to fight for the championship next year," added Perez, who this year signed a two-year contract extension through 2024.