Force India driver Sergio Perez has backed his home race's decision to display the #BridgesNotWalls hashtag protesting U.S. president Donald Trump's controversial plans to build a wall on the Mexican border.
The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, which returned to the Formula One calendar in 2015 as host of the Mexican Grand Prix, will display hashtag as a political statement ahead of this year's event on October 29. In a press release, the circuit said the "proudly displayed" message is "simple and clear" -- a "reminder of the open invitation" for fans to attend the Mexico race, which last year boasted a staggering attendance just shy of 340,000 across the weekend.
The circuit's initiative has been backed by local hero Perez, who has taken part in a promotional photoshoot in view of the hashtag.
"World class international events such as the Formula One Gran Premio de Mexico provide an excellent opportunity to showcase to the world what the Mexican people are capable of achieving when we work together," Perez said. "Through this unique global platform, Mexico has been shown as a warm and welcoming destination. The 2015 and 2016 races were award-winning, 2017 promises to be even more memorable."
It is not the first time Perez has been the subject of Trump-related news. Last year, just days after the U.S. election, he angrily ditched sunglasses sponsor Hawkers after it joked that Mexicans could use its product to hide their "crying eyes" while building Trump's wall.
At the time Perez tweeted "I will never let anyone make fun of my country". Hawkers subsequently set up a children's charity in Perez's name in a bid to make amends, though the Force India driver was still unimpressed by that and its subsequent public apology.