Sergio Perez admits he will realise a dream when the lights go out to kick-start the 2011 F1 season in Australia next weekend.
The Mexican youngster heads into the new campaign keen to impress for Sauber after a solid pre-season, although the opening weekend is set to be a challenge given that he will be making his first appearance at the Albert Park circuit.
Like team-mate Kamui Kobayashi, Perez admitted some of his thoughts going into the weekend were on the ongoing crisis in Japan but said he was excited by the prospect of making his debut in F1.
“Without a doubt I am also worried about the people in Japan, and I really wish them all the best,” he said. “At the same time personally a dream is about to come true. I have dreamed for many years of competing in my first Formula One Grand Prix, and now it is going to happen. I am excited and I am very much looking forward to it.
“It will be a weekend during which I have to adapt quickly to many things – to the circuit, which is new to me, and to all the aspects of a grand prix weekend from free practice to qualifying and the race. I cannot imagine yet how it will be for me when the lights go out on Sunday, but I can't wait to find that out.
“I have never been to Australia before. Of course, I have checked the circuit lay-out and other things. I understand it is a tough track, very challenging and not easy to find the limit, so it will be hard.”
Technical director James Key said he was confident that the GP2 graduate will impress on his debut.
“We're obviously looking forward to working with Sergio at a F1 race weekend for the first time,” he said. “He displayed some good progress during winter testing, and we hope we can transfer that directly to the first race weekend where the pressure of course is higher. I'm sure he can manage that.”