Perez opens up on sport, F1 and the importance of data

It’s not every day that you can get four famous athletes together on a Skype or Zoom chat to talk about their respective sports, how they got started and what are the key similarities, differences, and challenges of their respective professions.

As part of the 2020 Acronis Cyber Summit, that’s exactly what happened, as BWT Racing Point Formula One driver Sergio Perez joined an athletes get-together alongside South African Sale Sharks star Faf de Klerk, former Manchester City and England defender Joleon Lescott and former Washington Redskins NFL Cornerback turned Safety DeAngelo Hall.

Lescott and Perez had previously met in Abu Dhabi for the Grand Prix in 2019 and even managed to play football together whilst acting as Acronis brand ambassadors.

“I really like football, but I also really like golf,” said Perez during the chat. “It’s a sport where mentally it’s very tough to maintain focus for the entire round. I like sports where the mental side is pretty strong, but I think golf is one of the most mentally challenging.

“Driving a Formula One car on the limit with the amount of grip and downforce is something no other sport will give you. The bad thing is that you rely 95% on the car when you turn up. It’s not like other sports like American Football or Football or rugby, so even if you turn up and you’re the most prepared guy you still rely on your car and what your car can give you.”

All four athletes are brand ambassadors for Acronis, global leaders in Cyber Security and data protection, as the company partners BWT Racing Point, Manchester City FC, Sale Sharks and the Washington Redskins to name but a few teams on their large sporting roster.

Particularly in the fast-moving technical world of Formula One, the focus on data analysis between driver and engineers occupies a vast amount of a weekend. It’s where making the right judgement calls is the difference between success and failure.

“We spend a lot of time with the engineers running through what the weekend is looking like, what the corners look like in the sim, what the weather is looking like, how the wind is going to be, how long the tyres will last,” adds Perez. “All of those things you’re constantly in contact with your engineer. So all that previous data capture and evaluation of data is of crucial importance to both driver and engineer. We are very lucky to have Acronis protecting our data.

“For example in FP1 we have a certain level of fuel, so the car is performing at a certain level, from five kilos to 105 kilos and that makes a huge difference so that changes the balance a lot. So it’s more adapting throughout the weekend, adapting yourself to the conditions, different set-ups, different driving styles. Trying to make the most out of it for one lap, which requires one style of driving and then for the race, which requires another style of driving with your strategy, when you are going to stop, trying to make the tyres last. It’s a complicated sport.”

Motorsport Technology