Perez has joined Red Bull from Racing Point for 2021, becoming Max Verstappen’s fourth teammate in as many seasons.
The Mexican driver initially struggled to master the Red Bull RB16B car, known for its very aggressive driving style, but it won his second F1 victory in Azerbaijan.
Perez finished the season strong with podiums in Turkey, the United States and Mexico, and was instrumental in keeping Verstappen’s title rival Lewis Hamilton in the Abu Dhabi Championship.
Reflecting on his first season with Red Bull, Perez explained how the car’s very different philosophy and lack of pre-season testing – reduced to just three days in total for all teams last year – made it difficult rapid adaptation.
“We have to take into account that I have come to a very different car philosophy than what I have driven my entire career,” said Perez.
“So I think in that aspect it’s been a slow adaptation. But yeah, just a very different car, a very different engine, so a lot to learn with a new team and no big testing.
“Before the first race I did a day and a half. But the whole day was just to do aero stuff. So I didn’t do anything until the first race.
“So [there are] a lot of aspects that need to be taken into consideration, but overall I think it’s a promising season. Obviously I would have hoped for better, but yes, that’s how it is.
“I just have to keep pushing. We have had positive days, we have had negative days. But the more we are together, the stronger we will become as a team. “
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B
Photo By: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Perez was rewarded for his performance last year with a new contract for 2022 which was signed in August, ensuring the team has continuity going into the coming season.
This year, teams will take advantage of more pre-season testing – from three to six days – to accommodate revised technical regulations for the new season.
This will give Perez more time to familiarize himself with Red Bull 2022, having also faced the challenge of less training time last year compared to previous seasons due to the reduction in Friday sessions from 90 to 60 minutes.
“It’s going to sound weird, but I’m running out of time,” Perez said.
“I think the limited number of tests, the limited number of practices in the car [had an impact] because each circuit is different.
“So being such a different car that I’ve been to probably made it a bit more difficult. I am not alone here. I think we’ve seen other very good drivers struggle to master their cars.