Force India’s Sergio Perez told GiveMeSport ahead of round eight of the Formula 1 World Championship from Austria, that despite some missed opportunities and a few early issues with the car, he is really happy in his new team environment and excited by the performance of the VJM07.
Perez is an unquestionable talent within Formula One and if Force India can continue to make strides forward as they have done yet again this season, it is only a matter of time before: “The Mexican Wunderkund,” will feature more regularly on the podium and potentially challenge for the Formula One Championship.
Education behind the wheel
The 24-year old graduated through the normal motor-racing channels beginning with Karting at the age of just six.
His education behind the wheel continued through Formula BMW, A1, Formula Three and the GP 2 Series before his big opportunity came about in Formula One with Sauber in 2011.
A steady first season saw him finish in 16th place, however his second season with Sauber underlined his potential when he accumulated 66-points and finished a more than credible 10th in the Championship.
McLaren came calling following the departure of Lewis Hamilton in 2013, an opportunity that was simply too good to turn down, and after a season of frustration during which the Woking based team couldn't deliver a suitable car, Perez found himself surplus to requirements.
In my opinion, McLaren used the Mexican as a scapegoat for their failure to produce a winning car.
McLaren’s loss is Force India’s gain, and this is a partnership that could very well bare fruit down the line if both parties show loyalty and patience.
Force India has come along way since 2008, and the huge potential they have threatened to deliver seems just round the corner after noticeable progress this season.
The team currently sits fourth in the Constructors, only 10-points behind Ferrari, a promising start for the team, however they will know that with a little luck and if Felipe Massa knew how to use his breaks, they could very well be ahead of Ferrari after the first seven rounds.
Speaking to GiveMeSport ahead of the race in Austria, Perez gave his overall assessment of the season so far.
“We Have been having some ups and downs as a team, however I have adapted quite well, finishing on the podium on the third race.”
“Obviously we should be having quite a lot more points by now. We lost a good opportunity in Monaco, another one in Montreal and had some issues in the first few races. But overall a promising season with some missed opportunities.”
Perez went on to add: “Happy with the season and happy with the team. Looking forward to a great year.”
One of the missed opportunities Perez was referring too was last time out in Canada.
In the closing stages, Perez was surging towards another podium when in a heart-stopping moment, Felipe Massa smashed into the back of the Force India which thankfully didn't result in any injuries.
As a result Perez was issued a 5-place grid penalty for Austria, a decision which rightfully has been appealed by Force India and could very well be overturned ahead of the race.
That aside, the performance of the VJMO7 and team strategy in Canada, is one of the big positives the team will carry forward into the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend. And if they can get the penalty overturned, I expect Perez and the team to be a real Force at the Red Bull Ring this weekend.
Formula One is returning to Austria for the first time since Michael Schumacher won in 2002, a circuit that is now owned by Red Bull and should give Ricciardo and Vettel the edge.
It will also be unchartered waters for most of the drivers considering the new circuit, a challenge that Perez is relishing.
“The circuit looks promising and a really nice place to race. I am very excited to be here in Austria.”
“The team will try to do our best, maybe not a podium but definitely big time on the points. We have the penalty which hopefully doesn't hurt us much and that we have a strong race.”
At the time I spoke with Perez, Force India had yet to lodge an appeal with the Formula One governing body, and if they look at the evidence that I have seen the decision against Perez and the team will surely be overturned.
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