Sergio Perez enjoyed his first official day as a McLaren driver today, speaking to the assembled team staff and also meeting the media wearing his new colours.
It was not his first visit to the McLaren factory, as he has already been there to try the simulator and for a seat fitting and engineering meetings, but until today he had not been on PR duty for the team. Not surprisingly the Mexican was in an upbeat mood.
“It’s been a great day, a very busy day, but extremely a nice day,” he said. “I have really enjoyed all the work as an official McLaren driver. It’s been very special for me.”
Perez admits that he has a lot of work to do even before testing of the new car begins at the start of February.
“The most important thing for me is to get into the rhythm of everything automatically, in terms of the steering wheel, to get to know all the codes, all the functions of the car, to understand the car quite a lot in terms of set-ups for me to be able to have a good communication with my engineers.
“I think it’s a very important part as well to build my relationship with my engineers, with the team, and to get together so when I come into the first test I have as much familiarisation as possible with the whole team, and when we get to Melbourne that I’m very well prepared and everything comes automatically, and I don’t have to think so many things. The more prepared I can get, the better it will be.”
Asked by this writer if he was getting to know key technical folk Paddy Lowe and Sam Michael, he said: “We had some time during last year, some meetings obviously to start the familiarisation for them and for myself, so we start to understand ourselves. It’s going well, time after time it’s getting better. I think we are going in the right direction and we are doing good work so far, and we have a month to go before the first test.”
He admits that he wasn’t able to get too involved in what direction the new car has taken.
“Obviously it’s difficult for me to give any input but in the simulator while driving the team already started to know me better in terms of driving style, so I think in that respect that helped a bit. But if I’m honest I didn’t have much input in the new car.”
Elaborating on the news that he had already tried the McLaren simulator – a tool he did not have access to at his previous team – he said: “I was there last year, Sauber allowed me to come. I was there for only one half day.”