Perez admits move to Red Bull has been harder than he expected

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez says his move to Red Bull proved more challenging than he expected because of the “extreme” differences between the team and his previous outfit.

After losing his seat at Racing Point – now Aston Martin – at the end of last season, Perez moved to the significantly larger Red Bull operation.

“I found it harder than expected, the change of team,” he admitted. “The fact that I came to such a different team in terms of driving a unique car and it was a big change so it took me longer than expected to get up to speed.”

Perez scored his first win for the team in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last month and has had one other podium finish in the French Grand Prix. “Obviously I hope for more than now but still the season is very long,” he said.

He lies third in the championship, 60 points behind Max Verstappen. But Perez said he isn’t concerned about comparisons with his team mate at this stage.

“We all know in this business how good Max is,” he said “He delivers at a very high level [from] FP1.”

“I’m more focused on my side on trying to get fully comfortable with things, fully up to speed with just driving the car. It was just a very different world to what I was used to.

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“I think the fact that I moved teams, probably [there are] teams out that are similar to others, but I went to another extreme. So I think that made it a bit harder.

“But I’m getting there. I think every single weekend we see good improvement and I see no reason why I cannot get any better in the next five races, for example, to do another step. So I’m happy with my progression so far and with my level that I’m delivering at but obviously it’s not enough and I want more than that.”

Having made his Formula 1 debut with Sauber in 2011, Perez will start the 200th Formula 1 race of his career this weekend.

“You tend to forget how long you’ve been here and how many races, how many moments, how much of a life in the sport,” he said of the milestone. “It’s such a big part of my life.

“I remember when I did 100 and it felt like a big, big number. They come so fast. It’s unbelievable to look back and realise the amount of races I’ve done. But the best part of it is I’m still young, I still enjoy it as much as my first one.

“I’m fully motivated and I wouldn’t say I want to do another 200 but I definitely want to carry on and keep doing hopefully another 100 more to my count.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Perez admits move to Red Bull has been harder than he expected”

  1. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do this weekend considering he’s had a whole weekend at the same track already. In theory, the double-header should benefit the drivers who are new to their teams more than the rest so I’d expect Ricciardo and Perez to close the gap to their team mates this weekend.

    1. Coventry Climax
      1st July 2021, 12:57

      And what if they don’t?
      Ricciardo seems to have a driver/car mismatch problem, like they claim was the Vettel/Ferrari problem (not my opinion). Or, Norris is a much, much better driver than I (we?) thought, sofar.
      Sainz does not seem to have a problem at all, even if Ferrari alledgedly went for Leclerc as their future and long term driver.
      A really great driver -my opinion- is able to overcome that mismatch, and rather quickly, either by the ability to adapt or by the ability to change the team around him, and hence, the car he/she’s driving.
      I do not feel however, that Sainz is in that category.

      Well, let’s see, should prove interesting indeed.

      1. I guess part of the issue is how different the car/team is from what you’re used to? Perhaps Sainz has not had to adapt his style at all to be fast in the Ferrari whereas Ricciardo has had to make major changes? I don’t know… I’m definitely surprised by Ricciardo’s struggles so far but another problem he has is that with Norris performing so well, McLaren aren’t going to make any major changes to the car to help Ricciardo when it might negatively affect Norris.

    2. @petebaldwin Yes especially Perez who seems to take a while to get warmed up. Hopefully he’s not cooled off too much from last weekend.

  2. Coventry Climax
    1st July 2021, 12:44

    Had hoped to be given a little more insight into where, which areas, which aspects of the car etc. the differences between the teams actually manifest themselves.

    1. Indeed, that would be very interesting

  3. The thing I really appreciate about Perez is how he still comes across as incredibly grateful for the opportunities he’s had, even after completing 200 races. Big headedness & being a F1 driver do not necessarily have to go hand-in-hand!

  4. I remember how hard it was for Max to keep Red Bull car going straight looking from Lewis cockpit camera. I believe this is what Max wanted, for the team to strip down everything for the sake of performance. Unlike great drivers before him, looks like Checo tyre management skill help him a lot on driving no downforce car like that.

  5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    1st July 2021, 15:37

    I think when Gasly’s performance suffered in the Red Bull, we all thought it was mental but then Albon suffered similar performance issues over a full season. With Perez having similar issues, I thin we can safely rule out that the issues are mental and they are more likely they are of a technical nature.

    I think Perez has been able to perform better than the other drivers as the car is more competitive so he can still fight with Mercedes for top spots but I’m curious to see if he’ll be able to overcome the performance issues he’s facing.

    I also wonder if Ricciardo will manage to do the same. Gasly couldn’t do it at Red Bull. Albon couldn’t do it. Vettel seemed unable to resolve them at Red Bull and Ferrari.

    1. No, I simply think perez is a better driver than those 2, one who’s able to drive around a fast car, not because it’s faster than 2019-2020, in fact I think they’d have performed even worse in this year’s car, look at fisichella, he wasn’t setting the stars alight in the championship winning renault for 2 years.

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