Sergio Perez shed light on the inner workings at Red Bull, the expectations at the team and how this effected his first season with the Milton Keynes outfit.

It’s no secret that being a Red Bull driver is one of the hardest seats to occupy on the grid. Just ask Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon. We all know the story there but in 2021 Perez more or less broke the curse of being Max Verstappen’s teammate, scoring plenty of podiums and a win as well as aiding the Dutchman to the driver’s title.

It not only earned him respect within the team but a contract for 2022 and potentially beyond. Moving from Racing Point, now Aston Martin, is a massive switch. Not just in terms of the car you have underneath you but the culture you’re immersed in professionally. It’s a winning culture at Red Bull, they are world champions and proved that in 2021.

“I was pushed lots, to be honest,” said Perez to written media. “Red Bull really pushes you to the maximum, not just drivers, the engineers, the mechanics, the team bosses, everyone is flat out working to deliver the perfect results, the perfect moment for everyone so its been a tremendous experience and brought me to another level as a driver.”

Perez seemed to have handled the pressure of being watched by Helmut Marko and co better than his predecessors and despite having a far superior car than them, provided relatively stronger results, with his experience. To make a step up in life, sometimes you have to take a leap into the unknown, get uncomfortable.

That’s what Perez did and like he said, it took him to “another level”. But his switch for 2021 was huge not just culturally but in terms of the car as well. At Racing Point he had a low rake, Mercedes powered car, now at Red Bull he has a high rake, Honda powered car. Two pieces of machinery that in terms of design and operation couldn’t really be further away from each other in the world of F1.

“I think we have to take into account the different philosophy of car that I’ve driven my whole career,” said Perez. “So, in one aspect its been a slow adaptation. Just a very different car, very different engine. So, a lot of things to learn with a new team, no testing basically for the first race. I did a day and a half and full day.”

One would be harsh to let Perez’s mid season slump define his debut season with Red Bull after the way he’s explained his troubles here. Despite delivering, just, in 2021, there were some lows and very poor performances from the Mexican that loudened his critics. But a good end to the season has put him on a solid trajectory for 2022.

That said the best drivers are those who adapt quickest, so given the circumstances to more or less adapt to completely different machinery before the end of the season, is an achievement in itself. “I knew nothing before the first race,” Perez continued. “Many aspects have to be considered but I think all in all its been a promising season.

“Obviously I would have hoped for more but yeah it is what it is and I have to keep pushing. We’ve had some positive days and some negative ones but we will only get stronger as a team the longer we are together,” summed up Perez. In Bahrain, the first race of 2021, Perez’s had a mechanical failure on the way to the grid, lost his grid position and had to start from the pitlane. He finished 5th.

An early indication of what he could do and confirmation of his ability despite knowing “nothing”. Ups and downs like he says, he knows he can do more and seems confident ahead of next season to make a step forward on track as he immerses himself further in the team. Being a Red Bull driver is a major step up from any midfield team.

The expectations and standards are a lot higher, some people thrive and make that step up to match their environment, other sink. Whilst Perez may have blown hot and cold at times in 2021, his good days outweighed his bad days and Red Bull were satisfied enough with the Mexican to retain him for the future. 2022 is a chance for him to really maximise his potential in the best ecosystem possible.

In a news about his teammate, Verstappen revealed his helmet for the 2022 F1 season with gold added to his white livery along with #1 which he is to carry.

The story was written by Ollie Pattas

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