What an inspired and exciting hire Sergio Perez is for McLaren. Sergio has been in fine form this season gaining three podium finishes for Sauber already. I remember seeing him at Silverstone last year and I was impressed with how fast he seemed in what was palpably not the fastest car on the grid. This year he has looked even sharper. Certainly he is a fine young talent.

Whilst I had tipped Di Resta for the vacant McLaren seat I must say I am more excited by Perez getting the drive. Di Resta is a fine driver but not particularly exciting. Perez has moments of brilliance and sheer pace. The thought of him in a front running car is mouth-watering. Clearly he will now be under enormous pressure to thrive. Podium finishes are like winning for Sauber.   Anything less than winning for McLaren is going to be a disappointment.  Having said that,  I think that on the whole he will be able to handle the pressure in a way many other young F1 drivers would not. His first test will be at Suzuka in a few hours. He has qualified a good 5th on the grid – way ahead of the hot shoe whose shoes he is filling. Hamilton qualified a poor 9th – I guess his shoes won’t be too hot for Sergio to step into..

There have of course been other Mexican F1 drivers. The most notable were the Rodriguez brothers, in particular Pedro.  Pedro raced for Lotus, Cooper, BRM and Ferrari in the late 60’s and early 70’s before his tragic death (at only 31)  in July 1971 in a Ferrari 512M sportscar at the Norisring, Germany. Despite winning only two Grand Prix  Pedro was known as a quick driver, particularly in the wet,  but he was unfortunate in only being able to drive non-competitive F1 cars.  It was a different story with sportscars.  He won Le Mans in 1968 in a Ford GT40 and was twice world champion in the beautiful but terrifying Porsche 917.

Pedro tries to get past Vic Elford at a rain soaked Brands Hatch 1970

…spins but still goes on to win

Mexico loves its motorsport and hosts rounds of Indycar and NASCAR. The race tack in Mexico City is named the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez after the two brothers who are revered in their home country. Hopefully the success of Sergio Perez in F1 will lead to a whole new generation of Mexican F1 fans and maybe pave the way for F1 to return to Mexico.