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Sergio Perez

Red Bull on learning from Perez: He's made us stronger

Sergio Perez might not have been able to match the achievements of Max Verstappen in 2021, but Red Bull's Jonathan Wheatley has praised the Mexican for strengthening the team.

Perez Brazil
To news overview © Red Bull contentpool/Getty Images

Red Bull Sporting Director Jonathan Wheatley says that the team have learned from Sergio Perez since he joined them in 2021.

The Mexican replaced Alex Albon at the Milton Keynes-based squad ahead of last season, having spent several years with the then-called Racing Point outfit as well as racing for Sauber and McLaren.

With Red Bull having brought in younger drivers in recent years - such as Albon and his predecessor Pierre Gasly - Wheatley admits that the arrival of Perez created a very different dynamic.

"I guess one of the things that I can bring to the team is this body of experience in dealing with drivers from all sorts of different backgrounds, and all sorts of different levels of experience," Wheatley told The Jack Threlfall Show podcast.

"We brought quite a few young drivers into the team here, I think more so than most big teams would normally do, and I've built a knowledge bank from that, [of] how to support and help the drivers through those transitional years.

"Now, with Checo, [it's] completely different. [It was] more like when we brought Mark Webber into the team, to be honest. [We] brought in a massively experienced guy, [with a] huge amount of F1 experience."

Wheatley believes that, as well as Perez learning from the team, the veteran driver's experience has also enabled them to learn from him.

"We've learned from him. It's made us stronger. He's learned from us. It's made him stronger," he added.

How Perez can progress with new regulations in 2022

Wheatley has outlined the areas where Perez's experience has proved particularly valuable.

"It's very difficult to make that transition to a big team from a small team. Very difficult," Wheatley said.

"And understanding how to use the tools available to you, and the people available to you, and to use them correctly, and to sort of separate the wheat from the chaff. This is what a more experienced driver brings to a team. They know what's important.

"Out of all the information that they've gained over that run or that lap or that race, they focus on what is stopping them going quicker. And of course, Checo is a master of that. He understands it, exactly."

With new technical regulations being introduced into Formula 1 for the 2022 season, Wheatley is hopeful that this can be an advantage to Perez.

"I'm really hoping with this change of technical regulations this year that Checo's going to absolutely bed in with the car and show us what he's really capable of," he explained.

Red Bull are set to launch their new car, the RB18, on 9 February.

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