Sergio Perez believes it will be a “big challenge” to adjust to a congested Formula 1 calendar when the 2020 season gets underway, following such a long gap without racing.

After the opening 10 races were postponed or cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, the heavily-delayed 2020 campaign will begin next month with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5.

F1 teams and drivers face an unprecedented scenario of contesting eight races in just 10 weeks, with only two free weekends without a grand prix during the European leg of the season, which kicks off with an Austria-Austria-Hungary triple header.

It will have been five months since drivers last drove their F1 cars in winter testing and Perez reckons the sudden return will prove to be “very demanding”.

“We actually started proper training this week,” Perez told the F1 Nation podcast. “We know that it’s going to be a big challenge to go straight back into racing. 

“We’ve never spent so much time without the driving the cars. So physically, it's going to be very demanding and I am working hard on that. I’m very happy that finally we have a date that we can go racing. 

“Since I’m 12 or 11 I’ve never spent this much time at home. It’s been great… but of course, I miss my driving, I miss my adrenaline, the competition, my mates, the team.”

Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer said it will be an “intense few months” for everyone in F1 but is convinced the rigorous schedule is “manageable”.

"It’s going to be an intense few months for us all,” he explained.

“But a great deal of thought has gone into this calendar from all relevant stakeholders – including the teams, Formula 1, the FIA, the circuit owners and so on.

“We’re all in agreement that the proposed plan is manageable and, knowing what I know of our team, they’ll relish the challenge.

“At the end of the day, we’re all racers. This is our passion and we’re excited to get back to it.”

Perez spoke of his excitement to get back behind the wheel of his F1 car, adding: “Obviously when you have a good car on your hands, you want to go racing, you want to be at the racetrack every weekend; it’s not that if you have a bad car the last thing you want to do is race.

“[More than] the feeling if I can win or be in the podium, I want to compete, to have that feeling of qualifying, of racing… making sure I score the points, that feeling you have as a driver throughout the years is something I’m missing quite a lot.”

 

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