Perez joined Red Bull for the 2021 season to replace Alex Albon, but like Albon and Pierre Gasly before him the Mexican found it tough to get close to team-mate Max Verstappen and get on top of Red Bull’s machinery.
With the onset of new ground effect regulations for 2022, Perez made a strong start relative to Verstappen in the initially-overweight RB18. His early form yielded a pole in Saudi Arabia and a prestigious victory in the Monaco Grand Prix, which came on the weekend the 33-year-old signed a new two-year Red Bull deal until the end of 2024.
But as Red Bull managed to shave off pounds it allowed Verstappen to further balance the car to his liking and get more lap time out of his preferred oversteery set-up. By contrast, as car development progressed Perez admitted he had become less comfortable with the car than he had been at the start of the season.
Although he rallied towards the end of 2022, he missed out to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the battle for second in the drivers’ championship.
When asked at Red Bull’s 2023 launch if Perez has been able to work on his issues with the team to prevent a similar dip in form with the RB19, Perez said: «Yes, certainly. There are things that we are going to work on.
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«We believe that the car is already going to be better. I’ve been pushing the team in a certain direction, and we believe we’re heading in that direction.
«But we’ll see. Once we get the car, it’s all about adapting ourselves to the car and try to maximise it.»
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Perez took responsibility for some of his 2022 struggles and said that by the end of the year his side of the garage had come to understand where it had made mistakes on the car set-up.
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«Learning from the mistakes we did, I think sometimes we took the wrong direction with the set-up and that’s very important for us to understand,» he explained.
«I think we figured out towards the end of the season what we were doing with the car, so that’s been crucial for us.
«And I think we are we are heading in the right direction with it.»