Sauber driver Sergio Perez has been sharing his thoughts on becoming an F1 driver and testing the new C30 as he prepares for the final European pre-season test in Barcelona, which starts tomorrow.
“Those four days of testing have been very good for me,” reflects the Mexican. “I have adapted to the car and the team well. I feel more comfortable everytime I jump in the car. I'm also getting more and more familiar with all the procedures. So I'm really looking forward to the next test in Barcelona and to the start of the season, where I need to gain a lot of experience in order to be up where I want to be.”
Perez was runner-up in last year’s GP2 champion, losing out to Pastor Maldonado, the new Williams recruit. Stepping up to F1, even from its most senior feeder series, is a sharp learning curve.
“I have learnt a lot in many different areas: the different tyre compounds, the car as a whole, all the various procedures and the work with the engineers. All together it's really many areas where I'm constantly improving.”
But what is the most difficult aspect of switching to F1?
“Maybe it's the tyres, especially the different compounds,” suggests Perez. “When you are driving on the track the behavior of the tyres and the car is changing constantly, which means you have to adapt all the time and I think this also comes with experience.”
In the first test in Valencia, Perez completed 103 laps in one day, a workload that can put huge demands on a driver if they have been skimping on winter training. “It wasn't a problem,” he said, clearly indicating that he has been working hard. “I'm physically in good shape. I've done a lot of training over recent months. So I feel I'm well prepared for the next tests and then the season opener in Bahrain. I was able to complete a lot of laps so I'm ready on the physical side.”
Despite the hard work that he has been putting in over the winter in preparation for his debut season, Perez insists that he has been having fun.
“Of course it's fun!” he exclaimed. “Driving a Formula One car is awesome! I feel great being in Formula One and I'm enjoying every single lap. So, yes, it's hard work but also great fun!”
After the test in Barcelona, Perez will be going to his home town of Guadalajara, Mexico, were he will take part in a roadshow on 26th February, an event he is clearly excited about:
“This will be a very special day for me, being at home with my family and all my friends, and running the Formula One car in the city. This will be an additional boost for my motivation before leaving for Bahrain.”