Sergio Perez says he felt he had to put 'my country, my people first' after he dropped one of his personal sponsors for tweeting a quip about Mexico in the wake of Donald Trump's US Presidential victory.
Republican candidate Trump was this week elected to become the new President of the United States, defeating his Democrats adversary Hillary Clinton following a lengthy and at times bitter campaign battle.
Having proposed a plan to impose greater immigration controls should he be elected, arguably Trump's most headline-grabbing campaign policy is his desire to erect a wall between the United States and Mexico.
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It was a controversial topic referenced yesterday by the Mexican Hawkers
sunglasses company, which sent out a tweet suggesting Mexicans could wear their glasses to hide their tears following Trump's election.
Prompting an outraged response from followers, Perez was notified of the tweet and promptly decided to end his association with the brand. Hawkers has since posted a video apology on Twitter (in Spanish)
Speaking about the decision ahead of this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix, the Force India driver admits his issue with the one person who posted the tweet rather than the brand itself, but says he felt a duty to put his country first.
“I decided to split with them. I think it was a very misfortunate comment about my country, which is not fully related to the brand. It is mainly the community manager, but I have decided to split with the brand because I am not in favour of those comments at all. I didn't see the reason and I didn't find it funny at all. We are basically working on the agreement to split.
“I feel sorry because it is a great brand. They have done really well, but I am not willing to stay there because basically I think the brand should be in charge of the community manager. I didn't find it funny at all.”
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Furthermore, Perez says there will be implications for himself as a result of the deal ending given his good relationship with the owners of Hawkers and the fact production had started on a run of branded run of sunglasses in his name.
“They did my sunglasses and we just started the relationship now. They were going to do around 20,000 sunglasses in my name. Production was started.
“I know the owners and they have done incredibly well and I think the relationship was going to be very successful. But my country and my people come first and I want to support and I won't let anyone make fun of my country.
“It is a shame the brand pays for it because it is a mistake from one person. I am sure he regrets it now but it is how things are sometimes in life.”
Discussing the result of the election itself, Perez says he is calm about Trump's victory, believing there to be good years ahead for Mexico despite the controversy of the incoming President's plans.
“I think Mexico needs America and America needs Mexico. I think we as a country are very strong and we don't need anyone to keep growing.
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