McLaren's new driver, Sergio Perez has said the Woking-based team is like nothing he has experienced before in his motorsport career
Perez signed with the squad in September last year to replace the Mercedes bound Lewis Hamilton, and Melbourne will be his first opportunity with the team after just 12 days of testing over the winter.
“McLaren was always going to be a massively significant step in my career,” he said ahead of the F1 2013 season opening Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park. “[But] I immediately started to appreciate what makes this team such a consistent winning force: the dedication, motivation and attention to detail is like nothing I've ever experienced before.”
Perez also said that in addition to changing from Sauber over the winter, he faced an extra challenge in acclimatising himself to his new surroundings.
“Of course, for me, there has been the additional challenge of getting to know a new car and new engineering systems, and learning the names and roles of the many people I closely work with. [But] it's never stopped being fun and I can already appreciate how useful that learning will be when I arrive in the pit garage in Melbourne to drive the car in a grand prix weekend for the first time,” he added.
Despite his excitement, Perez insisted he has remained focused on performing at his best and told Reuters
that the expectations placed on him by McLaren are high but he views this as a source of motivation rather than pressure.
“There is the need to prove myself but it is motivation rather than pressure that keeps me going. All the other guys that are in a top team have already proven themselves, this is something that I still have ahead of me,” he confirmed.
“When you are racing for them [McLaren] you are expected to win. [And] this is also my target.”
“For me, arriving in Melbourne as a [Vodafone] McLaren [Mercedes] driver will be an incredible honour,” he continued.
“I've never worked harder over a winter to be ready for the new season, and I'm confident I've done everything within my reach to be ready. Now all I'm waiting for is for the red lights to go out next Sunday afternoon!”
by George East