Force India faces 'biggest challenge' in F1 2018 - Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez believes Force India is facing its “biggest challenge” in Formula 1 since he joined the team.
Perez switched from McLaren to Force India for 2014, during which time the team has classified sixth, fifth, and fourth (twice) in the Constructors’ Championship, taking occasional podium positions, and regular points finishes.
In the Drivers’ standings, Perez has placed seventh across the past two seasons, as the highest midfield runner, behind only Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull representatives.
Force India, though, put in an indifferent display during pre-season testing, often pointing to its upgrade package, to debut in Australia this weekend, as its source of hope.
Rivals Renault and McLaren – which have finished behind Force India in recent years – have also made gains, as both teams strive to recover towards the sharp end of the grid.
Perez is wary that Force India faces a stern test of its ability this season, but expressed resolute faith that the Silverstone-based operation can respond to any threat.
“We want to start the year on a real high,” said Perez ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.
“The first couple of races are a very important time: you need to be there and take your chances when everyone is still trying to fully figure out their car.
“Closing the gap to the top three teams and maintaining our fourth place would be a massive achievement for the team.
“I am not too concerned about our rivals: we know it’s going to be a tough battle against some great teams, but I believe in Force India.
“It’s the biggest challenge we have faced in my five years here, but I am up for it and so is the team.
“We will have a better picture of where everyone stands from tomorrow, but we know the midfield will be very strong.”