After moving from Racing Point to Red Bull, Sergio Perez initially struggled to cope with the RB16B, which is known to require a very aggressive driving style, in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But the knot burst in Azerbaijan and he took his second Formula 1 victory.
Other podium places followed in Turkey, the United States and Mexico. In addition, Perez played a decisive role in stopping Max Verstappen’s title rival Lewis Hamilton at the season finale in Abu Dhabi and in this way gained further plus points with his new employer.
Looking back, Perez believes that the completely different car philosophy and the lack of pre-season tests – they were shortened to just three days for all teams last year – made it difficult to move faster in his first Formula 1 season at Red Bull adapt than he did in the end.
Perez: “Get stronger the longer we’re together”
“We have to take into account the fact that it was a car with a completely different philosophy than I have driven in my entire career,” emphasizes the Mexican. “So I think it was a slow adjustment in that regard. Yeah, it’s just a completely different car, a completely different engine, so you have to learn a lot with a new team and without test drives.”
Before the first race he only drove a day and a half. “But the whole day was just to test the aerodynamics. So basically I hadn’t done anything before the first race. So there are a lot of things that have to be considered, but all in all I think it was a promising season . ”
“Of course I would have hoped for more,” admits Perez, “but it is what it is. I just have to keep hanging in there. We had a couple of positive and a couple of negative days. But we will only get stronger as a team, ever longer we are together. ”
Shortened training sessions also slowed down Perez’s adaptation
For his achievements in the past year, the 31-year-old was rewarded with a new contract for 2022 at the end of August, which guarantees him and the team continuity for the coming season. This year the teams will be able to enjoy more test drives before the season (six instead of three days) in order to adapt to the revised technical regulations for the new season.
Will also form the driver pairing at Red Bull in 2022: Perez and Verstappen
Photo: Motorsport Images
This will give Perez more time to familiarize himself with the Red Bull of the 2022 specification, after having had less training time than in previous years due to the reduction in Friday sessions from 90 to 60 minutes.
“It may sound strange, but I don’t have the time,” said the Red Bull driver. “I think the limited number of tests, the limited number of practice sessions in the car had an impact because every track is different. Having driven such a different car probably made it a bit more difficult.”
But Perez knows: “I’m not alone with this. I think we have seen other very good drivers struggle to get their cars under control.” With the better omens for 2022, he hopes that things will go faster this time.
With images from Motorsport Images.