Force India must address “weaknesses” with 2017 car – Perez

Sergio Perez says he remains optimistic for the season ahead, despite admitting Force India has found weaknesses with its VJM10 car that are “quite critical” to remedy.

Speaking to reporters in Barcelona today, Perez – who was eighth fastest, 2sec off the pace – said its testing programme hadn’t gone to plan.

“We had a lot of interruptions,” he said. “Once with an early brake failure and then a couple of red flags, which [meant] we didn’t quite get our programme done, but I think we’re learning. We learned a lot once again.

“I think today the team has found a lot of the weaknesses that we have with the car, which is quite critical, and I think it’s just a matter of time before we sort them out, because I think it is quite easy to sort those issues.”

The 27-year-old Mexican, who last year finished as top driver outside of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari, believes the true pecking order is yet to emerge in terms of 2017 car performance.

“I’m optimistic,” he said of Force India’s chances. “As always, it’s not important where you are in testing in Barcelona, its where you end up in Abu Dhabi, the last race.

“So very optimistic for the season and still a long way to go. I think tomorrow with Esteban [Ocon, his new teammate] and obviously with me in the final day we will have a lot of idea on where we stand.”

Fears over Melbourne fixes

When asked if Force India has time to rectify all the problems it’s identified in time for the season opener, he replied: “Obviously the team is pushing very hard to try to get some upgrades for Australia.

“Especially those upgrades which are probably easy to fix, but it just takes time.

“So hopefully we can fix most of them for Melbourne and, if not, by second or third race we should be already on a good level.”

Additional reporting by Oleg Karpov