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SUZUKA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 21: Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing talks to the media in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on September 21, 2023 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Perez ‘still learning every day’ ahead of 2024 title challenge

The Mexican driver has been under a lot of pressure this season, failing to deliver great results for Red Bull

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Red Bull driver Sergio Perez has admitted that he is ‘still learning every day’ as he prepares to pick himself back up to mount a title challenge in 2024. 

Perez retired twice during the Japanese Grand Prix (Credit: Rudy Carezzevoli via Getty Images)

The six-time race winner had a strong start to the 2023 season, winning two of the opening four races to put himself in a good position to mount a challenge for the 2023 drivers championship title.

Perez couldn’t keep his form up though, with a crash during qualifying in Monaco proving to be the first domino to fall.

The Mexican failed to make it out of Q3 for five consecutive races including Monaco, whilst his teammate Max Verstappen carried the Red Bull team, winning 10 races in a row and breaking the record for most successive victories in the process.

His struggles still remain, getting into two separate incidents before being forced to retire in Suzuka last weekend.

“When the season started, the car suited me perfectly. But cars evolve during the season,” said Perez, speaking to De Limburger.

“After Miami, things went downhill. I had a different car that didn’t suit me so well. Then I failed to get into Q3 several times, so my confidence dropped.

“I struggled a lot in the summer. In the beginning, I was competing for the world title but, from May onwards, that changed. I was driving without confidence. At one point I just didn’t come out [of Q2]. That was very tough. Because you drive with a top team, the pressure to perform increases quickly.”

Being the teammate of Verstappen is challenging, with the Dutchman going through several team-mates before Perez got the seat in 2021.

To get his season back on track, Perez has been working with the Red Bull engineers to make the car more suited to his needs.

“But I didn’t give up and kept working hard with the engineers to sort things out, my self-confidence came back when I realised that I won races under my own steam earlier this year.

“I dare say I am 100 percent again now. And I also have the conviction again that I can have a shot at the world title next year.”

The Mexican has been working tirelessly to ensure his car suits his driving style (Credit: Mark Thompson via Getty Images)
Mental health key for Perez

Perez found his struggles on the track were affecting all aspects of his life, causing him to focus on his mental health.

He hired a mental health coach to help him get his mind back on track, allowing him to get the best out of himself on the track and in his personal life.

“When you are having such a hard time with your work, it is difficult to be cheerful at home with your wife and children,” he continued.

“So I hired a mental coach because my family deserves to have that cheerful father at home. Together with my coach, I worked on becoming the best version of myself at home, but also as a driver.

“As a result, I found positivity again. I am now 33 years old, but I am still learning every day. On the track, but certainly also off it. Partly because of this, I will never get tired of Formula 1. It’s really amazing what this sport still gives me.”
Featured Image Credit: Mark Thompson – Getty Images

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