Sergio Perez has said he is confident McLaren will help him 'blossom' into a race winner and he is keen to get the 'same treatment' as the man he has replaced, Lewis Hamilton.
Perez made his official debut in McLaren gear earlier this month and this week will be on hand when the Woking-based team takes the wraps of its new car, the MP4-28, prior to the first pre-season test at Jerez on February 5.
Speaking to the official F1 website, when asked if he felt fitter and ready for the coming season, he replied: “Ha, look at me, isn't that visible?” he joked. “And regarding the 'ready' factor, I have been in the simulator and working my way through every department to get to know all the steps and procedures.
“Martin [Whitmarsh – McLaren team principal] was right when he predicted that I would not see much of Mexico in the winter!
“I have good news for everybody [however],” he added. “McLaren is a team that knows how to handle young drivers. Just think about my predecessor in the cockpit - Lewis Hamilton. He joined the team with no F1 experience at all and the team helped him to blossom into a winner and a champion. All I want is to get the same treatment.
“The pressure will definitely raise a notch or two [this season]. Here I will be given a car that can win, so winning is what I am supposed to do. To be frank [though], if you are not able to deal with pressure in F1, then this is the wrong place for you. Go and look for something else.”
Meanwhile, when asked if he would have guessed he would have got to this stage back in 2005, when he was still racing in Formula BMW, Perez conceded he knew there were no guarantees, although he is adamant he has 'made it happen'.
“How could you guess something like that?” he replied. “Sure, you hope and pray that chances come your way and miracles do happen if you just work hard enough, but others do the same.
“My aim, of course, was to get into F1, but at that time it seemed light years away and there was absolutely no guarantee that I was ever going to make it. So looking back I have to confess that my career has gone fantastically. I made it happen: I came into F1 with a good team - Sauber - and after two years to switch to the best team in the world… that makes me feel very honoured and proud,” the Mexican summed-up.