Perez: We will work well together but my target is to beat Nico
15 December, 2013
It was a shock to the Formula 1 world when Sergio Perez was axed by McLaren at the end of his first season with the team, but on the upside, it did not take long for the Mexican to secure a deal with Force India, which sees him remain in F1.
Speaking in the aftermath of his new deal Perez said, “I am very happy and very excited to join Force India. I want to prove myself in Formula 1, once again.”
“I managed to take the tension last year from big teams, and there is no reason why I cannot do the same here next year. So it’s a big challenge ahead, but I am very motivated.”
The decision by McLaren to axe Perez was considered harsh by most people connected to the sport. Afterall the Mexican, popularly known as Checo, was not way off the pace of vastly experienced Jenson Button, and his replacement will be Kevin Magnussen, an unknown quantity in F1.
Asked if he felt he that has a point to prove going forward, Perez replied, “Yes. Yes I do. Last season was not the best season I had in Formula 1, obviously people know what I can do in the car. I probably came at the wrong time to McLaren, but this is life and things change so quickly, so let’s see what the future holds for ourselves. All I can tell you is that I will be giving my 100 percent.”
From a regultions perspective it is all change for 2014 at the pinnacle of the sport. The smaller teams are seeing this as an opportunity rather than a hindrance.
“[In 2014] we have a great opportunity as does everyone else on the grid to get it right as a team, as a driver. Next year a driver will have more influence on how things go, so it will be a big challenge for everyone,” predicted Perez.
The ‘drop’ from a top team like McLaren to Force India does not deter Perez who started his career with Sauber.
“I see Force India is full of energy and I really look forward to work with the team and do great things. As soon as you join a team like this you feel the hunger, the passion for the sport that comes from Vijay [Mallya] through to everyone inside the team,” explained the 23 year old.
Hottest property of the 2013 season was Nico Hulkenberg who returns for a second stint to Force India after a year at Sauber
“I think we will work good, we have to,” said Perez when asked about his new teammate. “Especially in a new year, with new regulations it will be important to bring the team forward.”
He added, “My target is to beat Nico, so let’s see what happens.”
Shortly after it was announced that McLaren were terminating his services, Perez’s future looked bleak and a possible exit from F1 was on the cards. The Mexican had kind words for Paul di Resta whom he replaces in the team. The Scot now finds himself without a drive in F1 and his most likely destination is a return to DTM or a career in the USA.
“It’s a shame but this is Formula 1, it’s such a difficult sport. One time you are in, one time you are out. I hope for [Di Resta] that he finds a good seat. If not in F1, somewhere else. I think he is a great driver, who has a great value and can do a great job for himself, also to a team where he goes.
Rule changes for 2014 include drivers choosing a bespoke number which will last them throughout their career in Formula 1.
Perez has his already planned, “I like to have number 11 because I always had this when I was a kid in karting. I don’t know why but even when I was a kid I [identified] myself with that number.”
In closing he was asked to give his thoughts with regards to the big changes that are coming into force for the 2014 season.
“Its going to be an interesting season with all the changes happening in Formula 1. Let’s see how things go, becuase it will be very interesting for the drivers, the teams, the fans,” concluded Checo. (GP247)
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