Q+A with Sauber's Sergio Pérez

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Sergio Pérez, who will be racing for the team alongside Kamui Kobayashi in the 2011 Formula One World Championship, had a very busy day yesterday when he gained his very first experience in an F1 car. Having slept over it, the 20-year-old from Guadalajara (MEX) reflects on what he learned on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi

Since when have you been dreaming about driving a Formula One car? “Since I was a kid. I was six years old when I went karting with my dad and my brother. Ever since then I dreamed of making it into Formula One one day. All my family has been involved in motorsport for a long time. My father was racing himself at one stage and he used to be a kind of driver manager for Adrian Fernandez. My brother Antonio, who is now 24, is a racing driver too. He just became Mexican NASCAR champion. It was always my aim to make it into Formula One and I always knew I had to sacrifice things. I knew I had to leave my country and my family and make my own life in Europe at a very young age. I was only 15 when I came to live in a small village in Bavaria. That wasn’t easy.”

How do you feel a day after this dream came true – mentally and physically? “I feel stronger in both regards. My motivation to work on both areas has even increased. I have a few months now to get ready for my first Formula One Grand Prix and I will make the most of it.”

You are going to be the first Mexican driver to compete in Formula One in three decades – what does that mean to you? “I love Mexico and it’s great to have this huge support from my home country and especially from Carlos Slim junior, who always was and still is a close friend and good adviser to me. Mexicans are very enthusiastic about racing and about having a driver in Formula One again. To me this is a very good feeling and incentive.”

What was the biggest difference compared to the GP2 car and what did you learn during your first day of testing? “The biggest difference to a GP2 car is in braking – the g-forces are huge. Also the grip level of the F1 car is unbelievably high compared to a GP2 car. Another major difference is the amount of information and procedures you have to deal with. The team is a lot bigger, with many engineers around you asking for feedback. To learn to work in this environment and to see what they expect from a driver, in and out of the car, was the most important thing I learned during this first day. The fact that I had already a signed a contract for next year helped a lot in this regard. I was not under pressure to do a super lap time, I could concentrate on learning. The programme over the course of the day was not aimed at producing the best possible lap times. In fact, because of some bad luck with red flags I only had one run on fresh tyres in the end.”

What will you be doing in the winter break? “Training like hell! I need to be as fit as possible for the first race. And I will be spending a lot of time with the engineers in Hinwil to try to learn as much as possible about the C30. In January I will be moving to Switzerland to be as close as possible to the team.”

Source: Sauber Motorsport