Sergio Perez has explained how his year spent with McLaren last season has made him into a better driver, despite an altogether frustrating season for the Woking-based outfit. After being replaced at McLaren by Kevin Magnussen, Sergio Perez is now looking excitedly ahead to his debut with Force India in March.
During the 2012 season with Sauber, Sergio Perez enjoyed a string of tremendously competitive results for the Swiss outfit which almost included victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Due largely to his competitiveness throughout the season, the Mexican sensation was selected by McLaren as the replacement for the Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton for 2013. Despite winning the final two races of the 2012 season, McLaren unfortunately struggled greatly during the following year, with the Woking-based outfit failing to step onto the podium for the first time since 1980.
Prior to the conclusion of McLaren’s miserable 2013 campaign, Danish star Kevin Magnussen was confirmed alongside former World Champion Jenson Button for the new season. This left Sergio Perez momentarily without a drive for 2014, however the Mexican sensation managed to secure a seat at Force India alongside Nico Hulkenberg in a completely new line-up for the Silverstone-based outfit. With the new livery of the Force India unveiled for the season ahead, Sergio Perez has stated that the trials and tribulations of the previous season at McLaren has made him an overall better driver, and that he is hungry for success.
“I’ve got good experience from my Sauber days and also now from McLaren,” explained Sergio Perez. “The experience of 2013 made me a better driver, more complete in many areas, and I’m really hungry for success. I will be giving my maximum and I’m sure that people will be surprised by what I can do in 2014. I’m coming from a very difficult season with McLaren, with a very difficult car, but I’m very confident that I will be quite strong. Together with the team we will all be working very hard to have the success that we all want to have.”
For the 2014 season a whole host of new technical and sporting regulations will be introduced, which is largely expected to spice up the current pecking order. With this in mind, many midfield teams such as Force India, Sauber and Williams could well benefit greatly and find themselves competing alongside the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull come the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. With winter testing therefore taking on a newfound importance up and down the paddock due to the technical changes, Sergio Perez has also added that Force India will need to utilise their testing time to the maximum to be fully prepared for Melbourne.
“It will be very important that we work very hard during winter testing to understand how everything works and how we are going to get the best out of the package that we have,” continued Sergio Perez. “I think that’s the most important target for the testing. I find the team very hungry for success. They’ve had some good years in the past, but they are looking to move forward and fight against the top teams. I think this year is the biggest opportunity to do that. It’s a very big opportunity for us, as a smaller team, to really do well, especially in the first few races. We must make sure that we arrive in Australia in the best possible position.”
During last season’s opening race at Australia, Force India led eleven laps at the hands of Adrian Sutil as Pirelli’s tyres spiced up the action. Despite initially sitting ahead of McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship, Force India eventually ended the season 6th overall after a slightly uncompetitive second half of the season. With a completely new driver line-up and a reshape in the technical regulations, the Silverstone-based outfit will undoubtedly view 2014 as the season of opportunity.
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