Perez hoping to simply focus on his driving in 2019

Perez hoping to simply focus on his driving in 2019

Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll
photo: Racing Point

A seasoned professional with eight Formula One campaigns under his belt, Sergio Perez is regarded as one of the fastest and most consistent drivers on the grid. The 29-year-old, a regular presence in the top ten of the Drivers’ Championship since making his move to Silverstone in 2014, blends incredible pace with experience and sublime racecraft to make up one an incredibly complete racer and a valuable asset to Sport Pesa Racing Point.

Sergio, how excited are you to be driving for SportPesa Racing Point in 2019?

I’m very excited about this new chapter and ready for the challenge ahead of me. The start of a new season is always massively exciting and after a few months away from the track you just want to jump in the new car as soon as possible. Last year was very complicated, frustrating and sometimes painful, so my hope is that I can simply focus on my driving this year and on delivering the best possible results for this team.

Does it feel like a new team? Or the same team with fresh energy?

It feels like a new opportunity to show what this team is capable of, especially with everyone 100% focused on improving the car. There is a new team name, but I am still working with the same people and we have spent five years together now. They have helped me improve as a driver and we have enjoyed good moments in the past. The potential for the future is what excites me. I believe we can achieve something special together in the years ahead.

How was the winter? What have you been doing since Abu Dhabi 2018?

Just the usual things: recharging my batteries, sharing time with my family and enjoying everyday life. The holidays are always the perfect time to relax, enjoy your free time and forget about the job for a while. Last year was a tough one, so I really needed the break. I spent some time in the mountains – doing some skiing – and then I went to Puerto Vallarta for the sunshine. I played some sports such as golf and tennis, but the most important thing over the last few months was spending quality time with my family.

We’ve seen videos of you training in the gym on Instagram. How is your physical condition?

I always train hard over the winter, but it feels like each year I push myself to improve even more. I believe that by the time I arrive in Melbourne I will be in the best shape of my entire career.

You always say you believe in this team – what makes it so special?

I think it’s the commitment of each person who works for the team, both trackside and in the factory. There is an amazing atmosphere and determination to succeed. Even during tough times, such as last year, they never lowered their ambitions; they always kept their heads up and that is something for which I am very grateful. Their energy motivates me to do the same on and off the track. Without a doubt, the best thing about this team is the people.

What goals do you have in mind for 2019?

I want to take full advantage of every opportunity to score points and reach the podium. I want this team to be the best of the rest once again. So I’m completely focused on that. My motivation is incredibly high and I think the priority this year is to help the team take a good step forward.

There are new rules for the aerodynamics this year. How does this make you feel as a driver?

I don’t know what to expect until I drive the car. Everybody hopes we will get better racing with these new rules, but I think we also need to remember that the gap between the middle of the grid and the top teams is still too big. I think this is the real challenge for the sport and it won’t change overnight with just a change to the regulations. The most important thing is that we put on a good show for the fans and I hope these new rules are a step in the right direction.

Two weeks of testing in Barcelona coming up soon – what are the priorities for testing?

Last year we struggled a lot at the beginning of the season, so I hope we can arrive in Barcelona with a car that represents a good baseline. We know that the teams we are up against will be difficult to beat and that’s why we need to maximise winter testing and work on performance before we arrive in Melbourne. There are a few things changing compared to last year, such as the new front and rear wings, but we need to leave Barcelona with good information and plenty of miles under our belt.