Sergio Pérez says the RB16B that he first drove earlier this week is a much different car to what he has driven before during his Formula 1 career, and he acknowledges that it will take time for him to adapt to it this season.
The Mexican, who is joining Red Bull Racing in 2021 after being ousted from his seat at the BWT Racing Point Formula One Team (now the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team) at the end of last season despite having his strongest year in Formula 1 to date, joined his new team-mate Max Verstappen and reserve driver Alexander Albon at Silverstone to run both a RB15 from 2019 and the new RB16B, the latter as part of a filming day.
Pérez has been using the simulator in recent weeks to adapt to life with Red Bull, and he says the car he will be driving this year is very different to anything he has experienced during his career to date.
“It is quite different, I can already spot the differences,” said Pérez to Motorsport.com.
“[You can feel] the strong front end that the car has and so on, those are things that as soon as you jump into the car and the simulator. You can spot them out fairly quickly.”
Pérez says he can understand why the drivers who raced for Red Bull across the past two seasons would have struggled to get the best out of the car.
Pierre Gasly was given only twelve races back in 2019 before being ousted in favour of Albon, with the Anglo-Thai driver being given the rest of 2019 and the whole of 2020 to impress the team. However, Albon was dropped in favour of Pérez at the end of last year after struggling for performance compared to Verstappen.
“I think it’s obviously a car [that] I can see why not every driver can adapt to it,” said the Mexican. “I can already spot that. In terms of the timing that I need, to know exactly where to set up the car, where to take the final tenths out of it.
“That comes with experience in the car and learning how to make the most out of it. That’s something that will come just once I fully understand. I hope it doesn’t take me too long.”
Despite having limited time behind the wheel due to the limitations of a filming day, Pérez says there are many positives to take from his first run in the RB16B that he will take into pre-season testing next month at the Bahrain International Circuit.
“It’s a filming day, so it’s all about trying to get myself comfortable in the car,” he said. “I can kind of already see that there is potential in it, and I can spot some of the differences.
“It’s on test tyres and so on, so I don’t want to draw any conclusions. But I can just see there is some good potential in the car.”