Q: Sergio, Force India seem to be on a fantastic roll - at least when looking at the timesheets…
Sergio Perez: Yes, in the last two days we’ve made great steps forward. And believe me: we needed days like these, as we’ve had a bag full of problems and so days like these go down very well. It was so rewarding because we could raise our learning curve substantially. And learning is what brings you forward in times like these where you have a completely new car to deal with. The team has done a fantastic job which has made us move forward big time. Today was my last day (in the car) before Friday in Melbourne and to leave this test with a comfortable feeling in the belly makes me believe that we are in good shape for Australia.
Q: Speaking of the race in Melbourne, you are going to have a lot to think about for the start. How difficult is this to handle?
SP: Well, the start is the same procedure - it doesn’t really change that much. You still feel the torque a lot. It’s just a lot nicer - if you get the grip! (laughs) We just had some issues with the selection of the right electronics. Now the issues are behind us.
Q: When looking at how the teams have been doing over the last two days the impression is that Force India have moved in amongst the Mercedes and McLarens. Is that realistic?
SP: I have no idea - but the idea sure sounds nice! Of course it is our target in the long run and the team is working - and has been working - for it very intensely. And I think it is not too far fetched, having big targets. Right now everything seems possible. True, I don’t precisely know where we are, but where we are feels good.
Q: Can you explain what you’ve done over these last two days?
SP: I’ve tried to balance the car, look into different set-up directions - there are so many new things to learn, like how we best manage the torque, how to manage the many maps that you have, manage the brake balance. And at the Jerez test there was no chance to even have a look at all these things. Today, for example, we have a very different car than yesterday by simply trying other things - and the good news is that both versions worked. In the afternoon we could even do some race preparation work, so fingers crossed it looks pretty promising.
Q: How relieved are you about the last two days, as Jerez was a bit of a disaster…
SP: Yes, Jerez was completely useless. And of course you start to mull over your situation when you see the massive changes, the first useless test and you know that you only have four days left to get a feeling for all these changes before you go racing. So it’s a bit of a relief, yes. I really needed these last two days. Of course we have not eliminated each and every teething problem, but nobody has. And when I look around I can say that under the circumstances we should be in good shape come Melbourne.