F1 2015 Driver Review: Sergio Perez

© AP

Sergio Perez

Team: Sahara Force India F1 Team
Car No.: 11
Races: 19
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: 3rd (Russia)
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 78
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 9th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Sergio Perez has always proven to be something of an enigma within Formula 1. After storming onto the scene with Sauber and then being unceremoniously dumped by McLaren, Perez sought refuge at Force India in 2014, but has now settled into the role of team leader.

It seems odd to say that given how much Nico Hulkenberg is hyped up, yet Perez was the man who brought home the bacon throughout 2015. Financial issues meant the new car did not debut until the final pre-season test, and the B-spec version with updates didn’t arrive until Silverstone.

However, this was a clear turning point for both Perez and Force India. In the final nine races of the year, Perez failed to score just twice, and even picked up just the third podium in Force India’s history in Russia thanks to a last lap clash between Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas. At Spa, he challenged Lewis Hamilton for the lead early on, and even recorded his best ever qualifying result in Abu Dhabi.

It was a good year for Perez, and one has to question just how much higher he would be in the championship standings had Force India not struggled so much in the early part of the season.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

It took five years, but Sergio Perez appears to have finally found a home in the sport with Sahara Force India. Subsequently, he enjoyed his best season yet that was even better than the stats would indicate.

For 2015 marked his first time continuing with the same team in three years, it was obvious that continuity paid dividends. He and teammate Nico Hulkenberg made the best of their circumstances with the older chassis to start the year; once the new chassis was introduced midseason is roughly when Perez came alive, and doing so following Hulkenberg’s highly covered win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Four top-five finishes in the final nine races were the most for any driver outside the Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams camps in that time period and additionally, Hulkenberg didn’t have a single one both in that time period or all season. It showcased a hungry driver keen to impress; one who perhaps hadn’t got his fair due for his overall skills in F1 machinery beyond his tire conservation ability. Racing in Mexico was also a highlight for him. File this campaign under the “was better than the final standings will indicate” folder.

Winner Josef Newgarden earns $3.666 million from a record Indy 500 purse of $17 million


INDIANAPOLIS — The first Indy 500 victory for Josef Newgarden also was the richest in race history from a record 2023 purse of just more than $17 million.

The two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, who continued his celebration Monday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned $3.666 million for winning the 107th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The purse and winner’s share both are the largest in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

It’s the second consecutive year that the Indy 500 purse set a record after the 2022 Indy 500 became the first to crack the $16 million mark (nearly doubling the 2021 purse that offered a purse of $8,854,565 after a crowd limited to 135,000 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

The average payout for IndyCar drivers was $500,600 (exceeding last year’s average of $485,000).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, whose team also fields Newgarden’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet, had made raising purses a priority since buying the track in 2020. But Penske but was unable to post big money purses until the race returned to full capacity grandstands last year.

The largest Indy 500 purse before this year was $14.4 million for the 2008 Indy 500 won by Scott Dixon (whose share was $2,988,065). Ericsson’s haul made him the second Indy 500 winner to top $3 million (2009 winner Helio Castroneves won $3,048,005.

Runner-up Marcus Ericsson won $1.043 million after falling short by 0.0974 seconds in the fourth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

The 107th Indy 500 drew a crowd of at least 330,000 that was the largest since the sellout for the 100th running in 2016, and the second-largest in more than two decades, according to track officials.

“This is the greatest race in the world, and it was an especially monumental Month of May featuring packed grandstands and intense on-track action,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “Now, we have the best end card possible for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500: a record-breaking purse for the history books.”

Benjamin Pedersen was named the Indy 500 rookie of the year, earning a $50,000 bonus.

The race’s purse is determined through contingency and special awards from IMS and IndyCar. The awards were presented Monday night in the annual Indy 500 Victory Celebration at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

The payouts for the 107th Indy 500:

1. Josef Newgarden, $3,666,000
2. Marcus Ericsson, $1,043,000
3. Santino Ferrucci, $481,800
4. Alex Palou, $801,500
5. Alexander Rossi, $574,000
6. Scott Dixon, $582,000
7. Takuma Sato, $217,300
8. Conor Daly, $512,000
9. Colton Herta, $506,500
10. Rinus VeeKay, $556,500
11. Ryan Hunter‐Reay, $145,500
12. Callum Ilott, $495,500
13. Devlin DeFrancesco, $482,000
14. Scott McLaughlin, $485,000
15. Helio Castroneves, $481,500
16. Tony Kanaan, $105,000
17. Marco Andretti, $102,000
18. Jack Harvey, $472,000
19. Christian Lundgaard, $467,500
20. Ed Carpenter, $102,000
21. Benjamin Pedersen (R), $215,300
22. Graham Rahal, $565,500*
23. Will Power, $488,000
24. Pato O’Ward, $516,500
25. Simon Pagenaud, $465,500
26. Agustín Canapino (R), $156,300
27. Felix Rosenqvist, $278,300
28. Kyle Kirkwood, $465,500
29. David Malukas, $462,000
30. Romain Grosjean, $462,000
31. Sting Ray Robb (R), $463,000
32. RC Enerson (R), $103,000
33.  Katherine Legge, $102,000

*–Broken down between two teams, $460,000 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, $105,500 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports