Perez “absolutely just focusing on myself” as he looks to close the gap to Verstappen in F1 2024

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Today, the last car that will be competing in the 2024 Formula 1 season was presented, which, ironically, has been in first place for a couple of yeaes. We are talking about the RB20 of Red Bull Racing. The energy drink team had its best season in team history last year, achieving its first 1-2 in the drivers’ championship. They won 21 of the 22 races as well.

2024 hasn’t started yet but the presentation of the RB20 has intimidated many people. Once again, the technical director of the Austrian team, Adrian Newey, has surprised the world with the aerodynamic design of this car, demonstrating again why they have been the team to beat in recent years.

On the one hand, Max Verstappen enters the 2024 season hungry to win and repeat the drivers’ championship for the fourth consecutive time. After defeating Lewis Hamilton in one of the most exciting, controversial and competitive seasons in history, Verstappen won his first championship in 2021, while Red Bull largely dominated the 2022 and 2023 seasons, so that the Dutchman joins the very privileged list of drivers with a total of 3 championships.

On the other hand, Sergio Perez managed to finish in second position in 2023. However, it cost him more than expected.

Although the RB19 has been one of the most dominant cars in the entire history of the sport, no other rival was at the same level with the 2023 Red Bull.

But the Mexican driver was 290 points behind his teammate, while Lewis Hamilton, who finished in P3 in the championship, managed to keep the Mexican in sight, finishing only 51 points behind him.

We have to remember that this is the last year of Perez’s contract with Red Bull, and it will be essential for the Mexican to demonstrate how well he can battle his teammate from day one, if his goal is to extend his contract with the energy drink team.

“I feel fully fresh and obviously with the learning of last year, it’s very important that we learn what went wrong, learn from our mistakes. I think we understood a lot of things,” the Mexican stated after revealing the RB20. 

“It’s my fourth year with Red Bull and I do expect to be at my best for this year.”

“[The target for the season] is to maximize every single opportunity, to get a really strong base early on and just be able to carry that through the whole season, be able to develop through the season.”

The Mexican driver had a streak of very bad results in qualifying sessions last year, missing out on Q3 a whopping eight times.

It made his job much more complicated for the main race on Sundays. Perez has commented that one of the areas he has improved throughout this off-season was understanding the difficult events he had throughout last year.

“It’s a long season, so it doesn’t really matter where you start in Bahrain, it’s where you finish in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s a massive season, and it’s just important to have that progression and that will be my main focus this year.

“I’m absolutely just focusing on myself. Obviously I have a great reference on Max’s side. Just staying with an open approach. There’s no magic bullet that is right or wrong. It’s just staying open through the season and making sure that we get that right path, a good base and then develop from there,” the 34-year-old stated. 

“We had some issues as the car was developing. The way we were trying to improve those issues meant that we were just taking performance out of the car. Not necessarily going faster, making more comfortable is not necessarily faster.”

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool