Sergio Perez will begin his preparation for the 2013 season today inside the imposing Mclaren Technology Centre near Woking after making his first official appearance in team colours yesterday.
After a stage-managed arrival at the door of the MTC behind the wheel of a Mclaren MP4-12C sports car, he was greeted by Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh and led inside to face the media.
Getting straight down to the Mclaren attitude of doing things, Perez was immediately talking of winning the 2013 title.
‘Hopefully we can have a very strong car and fight for the championship. That has to be the target,’ Perez said in an interview with BBC Sport.
You are coming here to deliver results, to win championships. This is the target when you come to McLaren, the best team in F1, you have to really deliver the results.’
Outside observers have questioned Mclaren’s decision to sign the 22-year old Mexican after his performances, so impressive in the first half of 2012, became erratic in the wake of his signing for the team.
‘We’re focused on 2013; we’ve got two great drivers. Lewis [Hamilton] is a great driver, he’s been part of this family for a long time and I don’t think he, we or anyone else can predict the future. But at the moment, in 2013, we’re at the start of an exciting season with two drivers – we’re going to focus and try to win the championship with those two drivers.’ Claimed Whitmarsh in an ESPN interview.’
Much has been made of the relationship breakdown between Hamilton and team mate Jenson Button that some believe contributed to the departure of the younger Brit from the team that gave him his F1 debut back in 2007. Can Mclaren expect the Button-Perez partnership to be any more cordial?
‘People like to have that debate but the fact is Jenson has got the advantage in terms of he knows the team, he’s got the experience and he’s been world champion,’ Whitmarsh elaborated to Sky. ‘So he’s got a lot of things going for him, and he’s also a great driver. But Jenson will be very generous. I know him very well, he’ll be generous in his time, his opinion, his guidance, but when they pull out the garage Jenson will want to beat Sergio; when Sergio pulls out of the garage he’ll want to beat Jenson.’
Perez himself has very similar sentiments on the subject.
‘I think we will work very well together for the team but obviously the target is to beat him and all the others. But I think myself with Jenson, we are a very good team.’ He smiled.
Mclaren will unveil the MP4/28, their 2013 challenger, on the 31st January.