The Mexican has so far had to battle with a below par McLaren machine, the MP4-28 proving tricky to master. Even experienced team-mate Jenson Button has struggled to get to grips with the evolutionary car.
Discussing in a question and answer session with his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, Perez admitted that he is looking forward to the European leg of the season, dubbing it the “home of Formula 1.”
“Absolutely. It’s something I’m looking forward to because Europe is really the home of Formula 1 – the circuits have a lot of history. Tracks like Monaco, Silverstone, Spa and Monza have been on the calendar since Formula 1 started in 1950 – I think it’s great that we still have those circuits that represent the sport and all its history.”
He added “We can never lose them.” However that is looking less and less likely due to the expansion of the calendar. New Jersey and Russia look set to join the calendar in 2014 and Thailand will join the fray in 2015.
Bahrain was one of the first races of the east expansion of Formula 1 and Perez returned to the UK with a sixth place finish under his belt. We currently sit in the middle of a three-week break between the Bahrain and Barcelona rounds and Perez has taken the time to relax and train. “After the first four fly-aways, there’s a bit of a natural break – like it’s time for everyone to reset and start a new season in Europe. It always feels exciting returning to Europe – almost like the start of the season again! – but it’s also good that there’s a three-week break between Bahrain and Barcelona. That’s a good time to relax because there’s been a lot of travel for the last 10 weeks.”
He admitted that he spends so much time in the airports that this three-week break is hugely welcome, “We spend huge amounts of time in airports, so it is nice to finally get some time to myself – I’ll be training throughout the whole time, but I’ll also be seeing friends and family.”
Also a football fan, he hopes to catch up on the sport too. “Hopefully, I can get to watch some football, too!”
During the Q and A with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team he revealed how well he has been settling in. “It has been great getting to know the whole team – the experience has been all I thought it would be, and more. Everyone has treated me so well and I feel like I have settled in great. After a tough start to the season, we are all united to get this team back where it belongs at the front of the grid. Hopefully, we have turned the corner now.”
He also talked about McLaren’s impressive 500,000 m² Technology Centre, the MTC, which is a huge and striking building. “The MTC is such an amazing place to work. Every time I go in, I’m impressed by what I see – walking along the boulevard, I see all the great cars from history, and it reminds me what it means to be a McLaren driver: to follow in the footsteps of greats like Emerson, Ayrton and Alain Prost. It is an honour.”
McLaren are looking forward to the European season where they will bring big upgrade packages to their car. The first will arrive for the Spanish Grand Prix, the Circuit de Catalunya is a home from home for all the teams after winter testing and is the perfect place to trial new pieces on the car.
They currently lie sixth in the constructors standings with 23 points, trailing Sahara Force India by three. Button and Perez lie 10th and 11th in the drivers standings. The Brit has scored on three occasions so far with a best finish of fifth place at the Chinese Grand Prix. Perez’s sixth place in Bahrain is his best result of the season so far.
Image courtesy of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes