Sergio Perez says “everything is different” at his new Formula 1 team Red Bull Racing after his first test in a 2019 car, but already feels comfortable in his new environment.
The Mexican completed two days of running in the Red Bull RB15 in wet conditions at Silverstone over Monday and Tuesday, during which he initially focused on short runs, operational procedures and ensuring he is comfortable in the cockpit.
Perez then moved on to work on longer runs and race weekend preparation on Tuesday.
He is also due to split tomorrow’s shakedown of the newly-launched Red Bull RB16B with team-mate Max Verstappen.
“Everything about the car is different,” said Perez.
“It’s still an F1 car in the end but the seating position is different, the steering wheel, the brakes, the buttons, procedures, the engine and the power delivery, the torque, so many things are different.
“It’s been an amazing day. To look at my name on the car is something extremely special, it’s definitely a dream come true and I have to say that I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made in terms of feeling a bit more comfortable.
“Obviously, I’ve been driving in a car for seven years in a cockpit, in a seat with certain pedals so positioning is quite a challenge to get on top of.
“We are working hard and we made definitely good steps in that and I have to say that for the first day I felt very comfortable.”
“It’s getting better now. I recognise more the faces, I have a laugh with the guys, with my engineers” :: Sergio Perez
Perez says he adapted well to the operation of the car despite this being his first time in a car run by a team other than Racing Point/Force India since 2013.
Having spent time preparing at Red Bull’s Milton Keynes factory and in the driver-in-loop simulator, he felt he was up to speed with the systems on the actual car immediately.
“We’ve done a lot of preparation, so many days in the simulator in the factory with the controls, getting on top of everything,” said Perez.
“I have to say that I am very pleased with how my first day went because I was on top of all the procedures, improving and learning from them, but I think the preparation that we did up to this test day has been good.
“It’s been very helpful to have this first day with the team.”
Perez will have to split the truncated three days of pre-season testing with team-mate Max Verstappen in Bahrain and believes this early running is key to ensuring he has gelled with Red Bull.
He believes it will ensure he’s able to be fully focused on getting on top of the 2021 car in testing, having used this time to settle into the team and improve communication with his crew.
“It’s very good to get these days with my team to get to know my boys, to get to know the engineers, just to have more fluid conversation because the way I explain the car is different to what they’ve been used to and vice versa,” said Perez.
“Getting comfortable in the cockpit is important so when we get to Bahrain I am able to just focus on trying to get the performance right because with a day in the half in the car, it’s really nothing, so the more we can get done here the better we will be prepared for the first test in Bahrain.”
Perez described himself as “like a dog finding a new family” after his first visit to Red Bull’s factory in January, but asked after his first day of running if he still felt that way, he said he now felt more integrated and more familiar with the team.
“It’s getting better now,” said Perez. “I recognise more the faces, I have a laugh with the guys, with my engineers.
“We are all racers here so when we are in a racing environment they are just pure racers and everything is getting more normal now.”