Sergio Perez says he's relishing the prospect of learning the McLaren way
Mexican has an "incredible day" debuting in MP4-28
By Mike Wise in Jerez. Last Updated: 06/02/13 10:26pm
Sergio Perez: Says he's having to learn a lot (Credit: Jon Segui)
Not many people describe their first day in the office as "incredible" - but then not everybody starts a new job behind the wheel of a brand new McLaren Formula 1 car.
That's how Sergio Perez described his debut outing in his new team's MP4-28. It was hardly headline-making: the Mexican left that to the man he replaced. Rather, the 23-year-old spent the day quietly learning the ropes.
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It sounds like quite some task. Perez said he must learn to set the car up differently and that his new cockpit needs bedding in properly. The former Sauber driver even said the way McLaren talk to him on the radio takes some getting used to. Even so, he is clearly relishing the challenge.
"It's much more different than I expected, the feeling," said Perez, who finished seventh fastest overall on Wednesday. "By sitting in a different seat, you have to adapt yourself to a different position, a different way to hold the steering wheel. Pretty much everything is different: from the pedals to the steering wheel.
"It's pretty much starting from zero but we're going in the right direction. We've had an incredible day. I'm more happy than I'd been expecting. I've still to sort out some things with my cockpit to be a little bit more comfortable but we still managed to have an incredible day with good data for us."
It is, of course, very early days although, with F1's testing restrictions the way they are, the days are also running out for Perez, who has six days in the car before his race debut in Melbourne.
Asked to assess the MP4-28's potential, he replied: "We don't know how competitive we are but all I can say is that the car feels quite good. We've got a lot of work to do on the next five days that we have and we'll keep our heads down because we are going in the right direction."
And of the switch to a front-running team? "It's difficult for me to compare the cars right now because obviously we've got different tyres," Perez replied. "Jerez is a very different circuit but I would say that the mechanical grip is good but also the aero. It's a very complete car. I'm happy with the car I've got."
The move into the big time has also meant that Perez has had to work harder than ever before. Speaking at the launch of the MP4-28, he said he had already racked up between 15 and 20 days in their simulator.
Now given the real thing for the first time, he was more than happy to muster up his favourite adjective one more time.
"The preparation has been a lot more intense. Also the motivation: once you've got the car you've been dreaming of your whole life," Perez added.
"I've done an incredible preparation in all ways. On the physical side I've done an incredible preparation as well and on the technical review I was very happy with the preparation we did before testing. If we keep doing the same then I think we're going to be in a good position for the start of the season."