Sergio Perez says he will need to change his approach after switching to McLaren for 2013.
Perez believes he will have to raise his game in qualifying in order to improve his prospect of winning races.
“I think the approach this year is different,” said Perez in a media interview during his first official day with the team.
“In Sauber it helped me because the approach was to always maximise the race potential, not so much the qualifying.”
“Here the target is to be in pole position and win the race. Normally the fastest strategy is the one that you do the most stops and you are pushing all the time so in that respect I think obviously I will try to help with my style, with my understanding of the tyre, the end approach has to be different.
“We have to attack a lot more the qualifying and extract the maximum from the race.”
Perez said he isn’t taking it for granted that having a quick car will automatically make him a contender for pole position: “Obviously it’s something to improve.”
“It’s not like when you go into a top car you will be in pole position. There’s work to do and I’m not worried about the qualifying pace. I can be up there, if I put everything in place I can maximise the potential of the car so that’s the most important as a driver.”
“I expect to be competitive in Melbourne”
With 12 days’ testing between now and the start of the season Perez said preparation is crucial to ensure he is competitive from the first race for McLaren in the Australian Grand Prix
“I think it will be a bit of a time,” said Perez when asked if he expects to be at his best from the first race.
“With six days and obviously the races you’ve got to learn and get familiarisation with the team. But I expect myself already to be competitive in Melbourne.”
“The most important for me is to get into the rhythm of everything automatically in terms of steering wheel to get to know all the codes all the functions of the car to understand the car in terms of set-ups for me to be able to have a good communication with my engineers,” he added.
“It’s a very important part as well for me 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, I don’t have to think about so many things because it’s normally a lot of things. The more prepared I can get the better it will be.”
Sauber allowed Perez to spend some time in McLaren’s simulator in December before he officially joined the team. He had previously used Ferrari’s simulator by being part of their Driver Development Programme.
He acknowledged that getting to grips with McLaren’s simulator will be an important part of his preparations. “It’s something very interesting I think especially when McLaren bases so much on the simulator,” he said.
Perez will now begin more intensive work in the build-up to the new season.
“Basically we start tomorrow with some preparation, some simulator, some meetings with the team to start to talk about the car already, get to know the new steering wheel,” he said. “And basically start the preparation for the first test.”
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