A furious Sergio Pérez dumped one of his personal sponsors after they published a tweet mocking Mexicans in the wake of Donald Trump’s US presidential election victory.
Trump has promised to build a wall along the border between the US and Mexico, and after his electoral triumph over Hillary Clinton, Hawkers sent out a tweet encouraging Mexicans to buy its sunglasses. “Mexicans, put on these glasses so they can’t see your crying eyes tomorrow when building the wall,” Hawkers tweeted on Wednesday.
The ill-advised message was swiftly removed and in subsequent tweets Hawkers stressed that the comment was meant in jest. But Pérez did not see the funny side and instantly moved to cut ties with the sponsor. The 26-year-old also claimed that the company would have to halt production of 20,000 limited edition sunglasses bearing his name.
“When I read the comment I didn’t find it funny at all,” Pérez said. “I have decided to split with the brand because I am not in favour at all of the comment.
“They are very sorry and I am very sorry, too. I know the owners and they have done incredibly well and the relationship was going to be very successful. But my country and people come first and I want to support them and won’t let anyone make fun of my country.”
Pérez, a former team-mate of Jenson Button at McLaren, is now in his third year at Force India and has competed in more than 100 grands prix. The Mexican driver is financially backed by Carlos Slim, one of the world’s wealthiest men.
“It is a shame that the brand pays for it. It is a mistake by one person and I am sure he regrets it now but that is how things are in life sometimes.”