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.

"No, I see nothing to do with it," countered Perez when asked if his signing with McLaren had upset his race form. "Obviously I have to accept that I made some mistakes, but then the points didn't come for many reasons - not just mistakes like the one I made in Japan.

"Sometimes I put the car where we didn't expect to be, but we didn't manage to get the final result," he admitted. "I think I have to take the positives from 2012, but also the negatives because you learn more from the negatives than the positives. I had a great season last year with a lot of learning and now it is another approach.

"But it was not through a lack of preparation," he insisted. "Whatever team I'm driving for, I'll always give 100 per cent." And that's certainly going to need to be the case at McLaren, where anything less than total effort just isn't acceptable - and Perez knows it.

"Definitely - when you come to McLaren you are expected to win every race because you are in the best team," he agreed. "It's not only about winning races, here it's about winning championships as well. The consistency to be able to deliver 100 percent in every race is not easy - it requires a lot of focus and a lot of preparation.

His predecessor in the seat managed to win several races but ultimately not the overall title, after getting increasingly frustrated by reliability issues with the 2012 car - something Perez hopes won't be a factor this season.

"I think McLaren are the sort of team that can turn everything around from day to night," when asked what the team is doing to make sure that reliability won't impact their title chances in 2013. "When you see that the people here are so enthusiastic and motivated it's not something that worries me. We have a strong base and a strong team."

Perez also indicated that his approach to races in 2013 would be different from his past two seasons, where it had been necessary to take advantage of innovative tyre management strategies to have a chance of making up positions in Grand Prix races.

"The target is to get pole position and then win the race," Perez explained about the difference of driving a McLaren versus the approach at Sauber. "Usually the fastest strategy is to do more stops and push all the time. In that respect I will try to help with my style and my understanding of the tyre, but I think the approach needs to be different. We need to attack more in qualifying and extract the maximum from the race."

And as for his expectations from himself for 2013: "I think the biggest challenge is to win. We are all here to win and that is the challenge we are facing at McLaren."



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