Perez wants McLaren win

2013-03-14 08:38

MELBOURNE, Australia - McLaren expects its new Formula 1 signing Sergio Perez to win races during the 2013 season and the 23-year-old Mexican is "desperate" to do so.

After two years with Sauber, he's moved up to one of the sport's most successful teams as replacement for 2008 World champion Lewis Hamilton following the Briton's departure for a new challenge with Mercedes.


Perez told British reporters ahead of his McLaren debut in Sunday's (March 17) Melbourne season-opener: "As a F1 driver, you dream to win your first race. It's something you have dreamed of all your life. I have no idea what it feels like. I have to be honest, I am desperate to but when I start the season I will just drive normally, I will not be driving desperately to get my win.

"I need to be consistent, I need to score points, I know the win will come at some point."

Perez has not scored a point since he was announced as McLaren's new signing, a run of six races since he was 10th in Singapore in September 2012.

Before that he had chalked up three podiums, including two seconds, for a solid mid-table Swiss team which makes the most of its limited resources but rarely challenges for victory.

As a Ferrari academy driver, he had been linked to the Italian team as a possible replacement for Felipe Massa before McLaren - winner of seven races during 2012 - snapped him up in after Hamilton decided to change teams.


Even if his last race win dates back to the GP2 support series at the end of 2010 and his new team mate is Britain's 2009 World champion Jenson Button, McLaren does not see Perez as an apprentice. Managing director Jonathan Neale said: "Sergio knows that we expect him to race hard and not be content to park the car two grid places behind Jenson. It's not what we hired him for."

"I expect him to be trading places with Jenson from the get-go. When I look up at the timing screen I want to see them close, then we know we've got each side of the garage really competing, which is what we've set the system up for."

Button and Hamilton are each a champion; while Hamilton was usually faster he scored fewer points than his team mate over their three years together.

Perez and Button - the latter has won three times in four years in Melbourne - have already made a solid start and McLaren is pleased with how well the new arrival has adapted to his surroundings and different engineers.


"We have high expectations of him," said Neale. "He'd better be up the front, that's what we pay him for - if the car's capable. If we give them a package in which we can show that the car can be qualified in the top three or four places then we expect wins from both of them."

Perez would become the first Mexican to win a GP since the late Pedro Rodriguez in Belgium in 1970 and will feel some - not all - of the burden of expectation lift off his shoulders: he has repeatedly stated his target is not just to win this season but to win the championship.

"My target is to beat Jenson and all the others," he said.

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