It's a whole new world awaiting Sergio Perez in 2013 as he steps up to join one of the top teams in F1. He knows that he'll need to make an even bigger jump in terms of his race performance to match.
"Basically we start tomorrow with some preparation and simulator work and then meetings with the team," he said on Thursday. "We'll start talking about the car and I'll also be getting to know the new steering wheel.
"The most important for me is to get into the rhythm of everything automatically - the steering wheel, all the codes, understanding the set-up of the car and to develop good communication with my engineers," he elaborated. "It's very important that I build my relationship with my engineers and the team so that when we go to the first test I am as familiar as possible with the team."
"When we get to Melbourne, I will be well prepared, everything will be automatic and I won't have to think about so many things. The more prepared I can get, the better," he added.
Part of that familiarisation process will be getting to know the other members of the team - not least his driving team mate, Jenson Button.
"I am so much looking forward to working with a champion and a great guy," said Perez. "The whole team has so much respect for him. I'm looking forward to building up my relationship with him and to helping the team build up the best car possible. I think Jenson and I are going to have a good relationship. I think I have a lot I can learn from him - all his experience and knowledge will be very useful."
Despite the impressive facilities at McLaren
Technology Centre - which include a state-of-the-art simulator that Sauber lacked - the lack of track test time will still be a concern for Perez in the coming weeks. "I think it will take a bit of time with just six days of testing. You've got to get familiar with the team, but I expect myself to be competitive in Melbourne," he insisted.
"On the fitness side I've had very good preparation this winter," added the young Mexican, who turns 23 on January 26. "I think I'll arrive in Australia as fit as I've ever been, so that's very positive."
Perez was having a solid season with Sauber in 2012 right up to the point when the driver transfer market was rocked by the news that Lewis Hamilton
has leaving McLaren
- and that the Woking-based team had opted for Perez to replace him. After that, Perez struggled for decent results in the latter races of the season, and many wondered whether that was because the pressure of being the heir apparent to the McLaren
seat was already weighing heavily on him.