Sergio PÃ©rez, the 20-year-old Mexican who has been signed by Sauber to parter Kamui Kobayashi next season, has been visiting the team’s headquarters in Hinwil, Switzerland.
“I came here [to Hinwil] to meet my future team and also to find out where I am going to live here,” explained PÃ©rez. “I want to be very close to the factory and to spend as much time as possible with them in my first season.
“I'm looking forward to having this experience and succeeding with the Sauber team. I think they're a great bunch of people; they received me very, very well, and I am really happy. I did quite a lot of work with the engineers as it is good to get to know each other. All in all it was a very nice experience.”
When asked what he thought of the team facilities, the young Mexican seemed very impressed. “It is a great factory, it is really huge,” he said. “It seems that here you've got all the environment and resources which are needed to build a competitive Formula One car and to succeed. I hope everything goes well with preparations for the next season, and then we should have a good car.”
The first opportunity PÃ©rez will get to drive a Formula 1 car will be in Abu Dhabi on November 17th – the Wednesday after the last grand prix of 2010. Kobayashi was driver-of-the-day in Suzuka last weekend, and PÃ©rez is looking forward to having the Japanese as his teammate next season.
“I know [Kobayashi] a little from GP2 where we were both racing in 2009,” he said. “I think he is a great driver, I rate him highly. He has also done some really impressive racing in Formula One, so I think he will be a very good benchmark for me. We have to work together and develop the car in order to achieve the best possible results.”
Getting the 2011 contract with Sauber is the realisation of a long-held ambition for PÃ©rez, who plans to make the most of his opportunity at the pinnacle of motorsport: “[Reaching Formula 1] is a dream come true. I started racing at the age of six and always pushed myself to make it into Formula One. I had a very difficult time when going alone to Europe – to Germany actually – at the age of 15. It was hard but I took my chances. Now I'm looking forward to succeeding in Formula One.”