Formula One

Perez benefits from unexpected full-day stint in Bahrain


Sergio Perez had been expecting to get his first proper taste of the Red Bull RB20 on Thursday morning in pre-season testing in Bahrain, but he ended up getting twice as much as he bargained for.

After Max verstappen had a full day behind the wheel on Wednesday, today’s plan was for Perez to take over for the morning session before Verstappen resumed in the afternoon.

But a problem with a drain cover curtailed the morning session after just 80 minutes, with the afternoon session being extended to five hours instead – which would have left Perez significantly down on time in the cockpit.

As a result, the team opted to keep Perez in the car. “It was unexpected to be in the car all day today but the delays meant my early runs were cut short so the team decided to extend my day. And I’m back in the car again tomorrow morning.”

“The red flag this morning led us to changing the driver swap we had planned for post-lunch, as it would have otherwise unfairly limited Checo’s early impression of the RB20,” reported Red Bull’s head of race engineering GianPiero Lambiase.

Perez went on to complete 129 laps of the Bahrain circuit on Thursday, the most of any single driver on Thursday. “It was another solid day’s mileage for the team,” acknowledged Lambiase.

“We are accumulating mileage at a good rate which is positive for reliability and systems sign-off,” he continued.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB20.
22.02.2024. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day Two.
 -, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

“Checo was able to continue to evolve the setup to his liking having taken Max’s baseline from day one. We have plenty to analyse overnight ahead of what is an important final day of testing.”

Perez was certainly delighted to get such unexpected extended running in the new car as part of his preparation for the new season, which starts with the Bahrain GP next weekend.

“Generally speaking, I think the RB20 is a step forward for the team and we have gone in the right direction for us,” he said.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB20 in the pits with a brake issue.
22.02.2024. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day Two.
-, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

“It is a tricky track here from morning to afternoon, dialling in set-up and getting to understand those different set-ups because the track is changing on every outing, so you must base a lot on your feeling.”

Perez says his main objective is to ensure that he gets off to a quick start this season, and not suffer the same sort of slump that blighted last year’s campaign.

“I have been working over the winter on understanding last season from a personal perspective, in order to start the season on an upward curve,” he said.

“You are always learning and always want to get better, and that’s no different for me in 2024.”

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Perez benefits from unexpected full-day stint in Bahrain

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