Red Bull’s Sergio Perez says he is aiming to provide Formula 1’s reigning World Champions Mercedes with a challenge at the front of the grid during the 2021 season.
Perez has joined Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen after spending seven years with the Force India/Racing Point outfit.
Red Bull ended the 2020 campaign second in the Constructors’ Championship and is expected to be Mercedes’ closest challengers once again this season.
Entering a new partnership at Red Bull, Perez says he will do all he can to “make it work” and give Mercedes a fight throughout grand prix weekends.
“It’s an opportunity that only comes once in my life, I have to make it work,” Perez asserted, speaking on the Talking Bull podcast.
“I’m pretty sure it will work out and I’m pretty sure we’re going to have a pretty successful season. That’s the best way I can pay Mr Mateschitz, Helmut [Marko], Christian [Horner], all of the trust they’ve given me.
“That’s the only way I can pay them back. Nobody before has given me the opportunity of being in a big team.
“I’m so much looking forward [to the year], I can’t wait for the season to start. I want to make sure that I push the team forward and give Mercedes a very hard time and hopefully beat them.
“It would be very nice in the last season of Honda to get them that Championship.”
Perez made his F1 victory breakthrough at the Sakhir Grand Prix last year, recovering from a first lap clash to take a spectacular race win.
The Mexican believes he has been performing to a high standard for a number of years, with his talent masked by a series of midfield-level cars.
“I’m proud of all of the years I’ve had,” Perez said. “Although you can’t see the big picture because I was finishing top ten, seventh in the Championship or so, but they were great years.
“I was delivering massively, year after year, not giving up and always pushing to the maximum.
“Finally had a car that I was able to show a bit more. People saw what I’m capable of, but now it’s my big opportunity.
“I do have to go onto the next level, the next step, in all of the aspects. I think I’m ready for it. The only thing I’m lacking is the opportunity. Now I have it, it’s up to me to make it work.”