So much for lowering expectations: Sergio Perez says he is aiming to win the Formula 1 World Championship next year when he switches to the McLaren team.
"My target is to win the championship already next year with [McLaren]," Perez said. "That takes a lot of work during the season, so it's very important to start my preparation really well with them and try to reach their targets."
The Mexican made his grand prix debut at the start of the 2011 season with Sauber and put in some stellar performances during 2012 to secure a deal with McLaren, where he replaces the departing Lewis Hamilton. Despite his relative lack of experience in F1, Perez believes fighting for the title next year is a realistic goal.
"Definitely, because you are going to the best team and the best team normally wins," he added. "This year, they had many reliability issues and if they solve that they will be ready to fight for the title.
"I think what I am saying is realistic because the team is capable of putting out a very strong car. The targets have to be high. McLaren wants to win every single race.
"As a driver, you are looking for every challenge and I think it's a very good challenge. It's the best team in F1, the best team in the world – so definitely a very big challenge."
Perez, whose best results in F1 is second places in Malaysia and Monza this year, is confident McLaren will have a strong car in 2013 and he acknowledges he will have to be quick right from the start.
"It's going to be very challenging but we have everything to do it," he said. "The car will be quite competitive, myself must be very competitive from the first race. So I'm really looking forward to being in Melbourne and to be testing and working with the team, which we will start as soon as possible, and I'm sure that we will be fighting for the championship next year."
The Mexican driver failed to score a point in the final six races of the season, a streak that began when his McLaren contract was announced. Perez insisted the point-less run had nothing to do with his new deal.
"People in F1 love to make stories about everything," Perez said. "They always link that to my contract, but it has nothing to do with that because I'm a very professional driver and a very loyal person as well. So I am so grateful to this team and so motivated as well that since I signed by contract, I'm giving my very best as I did in the 15 races before."