Sauber technical director James Key has praised Sergio Perez for the 'enormous progress' made by the rookie driver during pre-season testing in Spain.
The Mexican only made his first appearance in F1 machinery during the post-season test in Abu Dhabi before four tests with the new C30 in Spain, with Key insisting the improvement in the rookie over the course of those tests had been clear to see.
“Sergio has developed very well over the past four tests,” he said. “Looking at where he started at the Valencia test in early February and where we are now after only six weeks, he has made enormous progress. He has learned an awful lot, his feedback has improved on a test by test basis, and his confidence in the car has also improved a great deal.
“He made a good effort when we did our race and qualifying runs with him at the last Barcelona test. He drove the car for the first time on low fuel and new tyres, and he really made good use of it by going quicker and quicker. However, it will be a very different kind of pressure at the start of the season, but so far it has worked well and now he is looking forward to the race.”
Key also took time to praise Kamui Kobayashi, who now finds himself in the position of team leader going into his second full season in F1.
“He is dealing with it very well and very professionally,” he said. “He is playing a very proactive role in helping in the direction the car is developing and giving a very good driver's perspective of where we are.
“He's got a bit of work to do in adapting to the tyres, because he is used to the tyres of the previous supplier, while Sergio isn't, so it is a little bit more difficult to adapt for a driver who was in F1 last year. But Kamui is doing a good job on that and, as we know from last year, we can rely on him in both testing and racing and it is a pleasure to work with him.”