Sergio Perez made an impressive debut behind the wheel of a Ferrari F1 car following a test at Fiorano yesterday (Thursday).
The Sauber driver joined Jules Bianchi on track at the wheel of a 2009 F60 model as part of their relationship with Ferrari's Driver Academy, with Bianchi the slightly quicker of the pair – albeit with the two drivers running slightly different programmes.
Perez, who made his F1 debut this season with Sauber, admitted that it had been a dream come true to get behind the wheel of a Ferrari for the first time and insisted he would welcome the chance to drive for the team in future once he has completed his education with his current team.
“This was a really special day for me,” he said. “I want to thank Ferrari for giving me this chance to improve and learn, given the limited number of testing opportunities during the year. Driving a Ferrari was a dream for me and it's also important for my career, learning with a team like this and experiencing a different approach to the work.
“I think there is room for me to do well where I am and that's my current target. It's impossible to say how things will go and my dream is to become World Champion and it would be nice if it could happen with a team like this one. I have got a lot out of this time with the Ferrari Driver Academy. The work on the simulator, the meetings with the engineers are all things that will help me over the rest of the season and in general in the future.”
Luca Baldisserri, the head of the Ferrari academy, was suitably impressed with how Perez performed.
“Today, we followed two different programmes with Perez and Bianchi,” said Academy head, Luca Baldisserri. “Sergio impressed, despite this being his first time at the wheel of a Ferrari. He proved to be aggressive and quick right from the start and was able to adapt to the car in a very short space of time.
“He is very mature for his age, displaying an understanding that goes beyond the time he has spent driving single-seaters.”