Perez – ‘My target is to win’

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Sergio Perez has set himself the target of winning races during his first Formula One season with McLaren in an interview with the official F1 website.

“When you are racing for McLaren you are expected to win – and this is also my target: to win. Sure, there is the need to prove myself, but it is motivation rather than pressure that keeps me going.

“All the other guys that are in a top team have already proven themselves – this is something that I still have ahead of me.”

In 2012, Perez enjoyed some success with midfield-runners Sauber. He claimed three podiums, and very nearly won the Malaysian Grand Prix ahead of Fernando Alonso, but his form dwindled following the announcement that he had moved to McLaren.

The changeable weather conditions throughout testing have hindered the drivers and teams, but Perez managed to take the positives out of the sessions in Barcelona.

“We have been able to gain a lot of insight into the extreme wet tyres and the inters, so in this respect the tests were very productive!

“Of course, you would have also wanted some nice and warm conditions, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Overall I would say that we still got the maximum out of it.”

Perez finished in eighth place on testing on Saturday, and he will look to better this result when he next steps into the MP4-28 for Friday practice at the Australian Grand Prix.

Position of F1 start lights altered to compensate for safety halo

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The position of start lights will be altered on Formula One tracks this season, in a bid to ensure the drivers’ line of vision is not impeded by the controversial halo protection device.

The halo is a titanium structure introduced this year in a bid to ramp up driver safety, forming a ring around the cockpit top. It is designed to protect the drivers’ head from loose debris and offer better safety during eventual collisions.

Although drivers largely understand the need for it, very few like it. They are worried it impedes visibility, it looks ugly and also that fans will no longer be able to identify a driver properly from his race helmet. Drivers also take longer to climb in and out of their cars.

Formula One’s governing body has addressed concerns and asked every circuit “to make the lights at a standard height above the track,” FIA race director Charlie Whiting said.

“Pole position seems to be the worst case scenario with the halo,” Whiting added at the season-opening Australian GP. “Maybe the driver can’t quite see the lights, or see only half of them, and he might have to move his head too much.”

The new start lights were positioned lower for Friday’s first two practice sessions at Albert Park. Drivers were also allowed the rare chance to rehearse grid starts at the end of both sessions.

“We haven’t normally allowed practice starts on the grid here because it’s quite a tight timetable,” Whiting said. “What I thought would be a good idea was to give the driver sight of those lights, rather than for the first time on Sunday evening.”

A repeat set of lights has been moved from its usual position halfway up the grid to a more convenient position to the left.

“Those repeat lights were normally halfway up the grid, and they were fitted round about 2009, when the rear wings became higher on the cars,” Whiting said. “But now the wings have been lowered, there’s no need for those halfway up the grid.”