Analysis: Sergio Perez's attitude gives promise to McLaren
|By Jonathan Noble||Thursday, January 10th 2013, 11:05 GMT|
Sergio Perez may have talked of title challenges, beating Jenson Button and joining the 'greatest' team in Formula 1 on his first official day for McLaren, but it was the non-sound bite topics that offered a better insight into how life at his new surroundings may pan out.
The first day at work is always a time for great optimism about the future. Everything is fresh; the new employee becomes the most loved in the building; and thoughts are only of a bright future with tremendous success.
So it was no surprise to find Perez bigging everything up on his first day of official duties for McLaren - he already had an informal factory visit at the end of last year - that winning races was a minimum for him, not just a target.
But behind the bold quotes, it was refreshing to hear from Perez that there was some honesty about the huge task he is facing, not only to deliver success at Woking but also silence the critics and address his deficiencies.
Perez is heading into 2013 on the back of an infamous record of having failed to score a point since he signed his contract with McLaren, and the pressure on him and the team will be immense if that run continues into the new campaign.
Many at the time suggested that Perez's struggles - on the back of his runner-up finish at the Italian Grand Prix – was simply the effect of a McLaren contract having gone to his head.
Not so, insisted Perez. "No, I see nothing to do with that..."
However, what Perez did see was an element of responsibility in the incidents, which included that spin while battling with Lewis Hamilton at Suzuka.
It was an important concession to make, for Perez to plead a bit of mea culpa, rather than simply put it down to 'bad luck' or mistakes by his former team. It shows there is a willingness to learn from errors, work hard to address the problems and become better.
The next few weeks are going to be a long slog for Perez, and his biggest error would have been heading into those doors at Woking with the belief that he is untouchable and that everything is going to fall onto his lap automatically.
For now, accepting how much he needs to step up to the plate is a positive sign that Perez can move on from his 2012 woes, and become worthy of stepping into Lewis Hamilton's shoes.
In fact, Perez goes even further and suggests is going to have to carve his own path as a top-line F1 driver, rather than simply feel he needs to step up as the man who followed Hamilton.
"When you are replacing someone at McLaren it has to be a top driver, a very good driver," he said. "Even if Lewis was not there I was going to replace a top driver so this is quite normal, and my approach has to be to make my own career and my own history at McLaren."