Sergio Perez says that his dream of fighting for F1 titles has finally been realised upon joining the Red Bull Racing team, describing how he plans to “over-deliver” on what is expected of him.
Having been ejected at the end of last season from the newly-named Aston Martin squad in favour of Sebastian Vettel, Alex Albon’s 2020 struggles at Red Bull resulted in an F1 lifeline being thrown to Perez, as the latter team looked to find a driver who could help them challenge Mercedes in the World Championship.
“Now is my big opportunity – I think I’m ready for it”
With the Mexican only having a one-year deal penned with the Milton Keynes squad penned currently, Perez is looking to secure his long-term future at Red Bull Racing.
“If we have a car that can win the championship, I’ll make sure we win it,” Perez said on his first official media day with Red Bull. “And if not, and we only have a car that’s good enough for third I will make sure that we finish second. I’m going to make sure I overdeliver.
“I am always pushing to the maximum and last year I finally had a car that I could show a bit more and people saw what I am capable of, but now is my big opportunity. I have to go onto the next step in all aspects and I think I’m ready for it. The only thing I was lacking was the opportunity.”
Having spent years with perennial midfield overachievers Force India/Racing Point, Perez was impressed as soon as he walked through the Red Bull factory door. “You straight away know why they’ve been so successful,” he said. “The amount of infrastructure, development and the level of engineering here is incredible.
“In a way it’s very different to the teams I’ve worked for. The organisation is tremendous, I can’t wait to get on track with my group of people.
“I’ve been seven years with a different team, it’s like a dog finding a new family.’
The Mexican has been savouring the moment after working so long to get to this point.
“Of all the teams in Formula 1, I thought there was no chance for me to join it because I wasn’t part of the junior programme, but when the opportunity came I took it. It’s a dream come true,” he said.
“When I put my Red Bull shirt on or drink a can, I think ‘wow, this is the brand I drive for!’ It’s amazing and hard to imagine. It’s an opportunity that I have worked so hard for – for more than 15 years. I think it’s come at the right time, I’m ready for that and I will grab it with both hands.”
Perez is typically bullish about Red Bull’s aims for next year with their new 2021 car close to completion.
“We definitely have to close up the gap to Mercedes and hopefully be able to beat them with both cars regularly, give them a big challenge and hopefully give a better spectacle to Formula 1 itself.
“It just takes a little bit to change the whole picture. From what I’ve heard from the engineers, they’ve been working really hard this winter.”
Without underestimating the challenge presented by team-mate Max Verstappen, Perez feels he’s more than ready for the test and bring his own unique qualities to Red Bull too.
“I feel I can push the team forwards in certain areas,” Perez said.
“It’s a big challenge. We all know Max, how talented, how fast and how much he has grown in the past years, how complete he is by now. So he’s definitely one of the best and one of the fastest, if not the fastest, out there in the current grid.
“It’s a massive challenge. He’s been here a long time, he knows what he needs from the car, but it’s a great challenge and I look forward to working with him and pushing forward the team.”