In the lead-up to the first Formula 1 Japan Grand Prix in three years, Honda held a “Honda Heart FORMULA 1 DREAM” fan meeting at Welcome Plaza Aoyama on October 5, where Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez took part to greet visitors.
The event started in the evening as light rain fell. As 150 lucky draw winners watched, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez took to the stage, greeting the visitors, and viewers connected via live broadcast. With photographs displayed on the large screen, Verstappen then shared his feelings on winning the championship last year, and Perez looked back upon his win at last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
Illustrator Alabulka then presented Verstappen and Perez with hand-made F1 posters, commissioned by the event’s organizer Honda.
Keeping in the spirit of “Formula 1 Dream,” each driver shared with the attendees their childhood dreams. Perez spoke of his first kart ride in Mexico when he was six, and Verstappen talked about the photo taken when he sat in the driver’s seat of the RA099 test car for Honda F1, where his father worked as a test driver.
The surprises continued. An actual RA099 that was placed to the side of the stage, under wrap and unknown to the two drivers, was unveiled as Verstappen spoke. Both drivers were taken aback, and were thoroughly interested in the 20-year-old F1 test machine.
In closing, each driver shared their enthusiasm heading into the Japan Grand Prix, starting in two days. Verstappen, one step away from winning his second consecutive F1 title, said he was “110% confident,” and Perez proclaimed he aims for an “Oracle Red Bull Racing 1-2 finish.”