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Perez and his hated father: the story behind the boos in Mexico

Perez and his hated father: the story behind the boos in Mexico

31-10-2022 16:15 Last update: 16:29


Suddenly, a loud booing sounded the moment Lewis Hamilton appeared on screen after the Mexican Grand Prix. It was a remarkable whistle, not at all befitting the ever-enthusiastic Mexican fans. Instead, they are known to welcome all drivers positively, although home favourite Sergio Perez is of course the absolute favourite.

As the boos continued, television footage showed Sergio Perez urging his compatriots in the stands to stop and respect Hamilton. Meanwhile, word is seeping out of Mexico that the boos were not directed at the seven-time world champion at all. On Twitter, Mexicans tell us that the whistle was meant for Antonio Perez Garibay, the father of Sergio Perez.

Cheerful grandpa

Garibay looks like a jolly grandpa, extremely proud of his son and his country Mexico. Perez senior never misses a moment to wave the Mexican flag as soon as a camera is pointed at him. It makes for great television pictures. What most non-Mexicans do not know is that the stone-faced Perez Garibay is a well-known politician in his own country, linked to the ruling NGM party of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The leftist president has been in power since 2018, with an election promise to tackle widespread corruption and curb the power of drug cartels. A section of Mexicans feel that the NGM has been anything but successful in doing so. On the contrary, a large group dislikes the country's leadership immensely. The handling of the pandemic has further increased the exasperation with the regime.


For this party, Perez Garibay has sat in the House of Representatives since 2021. In a recent interview the President, Checo's father called himself "a soldier" of the President. "If the president wants me to resign, I will do it for him," he said, for example. With such statements, Perez Garibay put himself on a par with the president.

Perez's father celebrates Max Verstappen's victory and Sergio's third-place finish with Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner.

During Formula 1 races, Perez Garibay often appears on screen, a thorn in the side of his political opponents. Earlier this year, Red Bull Racing had to turn off being able to post comments under a picture of Checo and his father because of all the hate messages posted. Opponents grumble that Perez Garibay is using his son's success to boost his own popularity. Indeed, there are whispers that Perez Garibay wants to make a bid for the presidency of Mexico in 2024. Being the father of the country's most popular sportsman would then be an ideal showcase.

Red Bull

Red Bull Racing's role is also interesting. The team prides itself on being independent, but meanwhile, it has a controversial politician running through the garage time and again who may want to use his son's success for his own gain. Of course, he is the father of their driver. Still, it is easy to imagine that the team is struggling with the situation, although to keep the peace, this will probably never be openly discussed.

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