Sergio Perez admits he engaged a “mental coach” this year, with the strains of being alongside standout Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen intensifying.
A good number of experts reckon that, despite the Mexican’s fixed 2024 agreement, recent races suggest that Perez might be falling short of Red Bull’s expectations.
“When the season started, the car suited me perfectly,” Perez, 33, has now told De Limburger newspaper.
“But cars evolve during the season. After Miami it went downhill for me. I had another car that didn’t suit me very well.
“I then failed to get into Q3 a few times, which affected my confidence and made me drive a lot slower. But in the beginning I was competing for the world title.
“That was very difficult. Because when you drive for a top team, the pressure to perform increases rapidly,” said Perez.
Nonetheless, despite a rocky Japanese GP, Perez affirms he’s found his rhythm again.
“My confidence returned when I realised that I had won races on my own earlier in the year,” he commented. “I dare say that I am now 100 percent again.
“And I am once again convinced that I have a chance at the world title next year.”
However, he confesses his 2023 challenges have taken a toll off the track as well.
“Formula 1 is my sport, my life, my passion,” said Perez. “When you have such a hard time at work, it is difficult to be cheerful at home with your wife and children.
“That’s why I hired a mental coach, because my family deserves to have that cheerful father at home. Together with my coach, I worked on becoming the best version of myself at home, but also as a driver.”
He therefore counters the speculation of an early exit from Red Bull.
“I am grateful to Red Bull for giving me the opportunity to drive for a top team,” said Perez. “After all, I am a driver who did not come from their own program.
“It would be great if I could end my career here. But being a driver for this team is not easy. Red Bull works in a different way than most teams.
“But that’s why they’re so successful.”