New Sauber signing Sergio Perez said doing a day of the rookie tests in Abu Dhabi gave him vital early preparation for starting his proper work with the team ahead of his Formula 1 debut in 2011.
Perez took over the Sauber from reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez today and will also do half a day during the Pirelli sessions later in the week. The rookie test was Perez's first experience in an F1 car and he felt he got a lot of initial acclimatization out of the way, allowing him to get down to work quicker when he next gets behind the wheel.
"I think it was very important for me to be here and have this one and a half days in the car," said Perez. "I can get a lot of understanding of the car and the team – especially the team because it's a lot different than what I'm used to. Also to understand how it works and why they change this and that."
The GP2 runner-up admitted that the F1 Sauber was a big step from what he had been used to.
"It takes you quite a lot to reach the limit of the car," said Perez, who ended the day sixth fastest. "You go out and you think, 'Ah, I'm going quick' – and you are four or five seconds off. Especially because I drove this track in the GP2 car and the limits are pretty different so it takes a bit of time to be up to speed."
However, he was satisfied with what he had managed to achieve by the end of the sessions.
"We did quite a lot of aero changes. We were trying to manage quite a lot of different settings in the car for me to get an understanding and a feeling with the car," Perez said. "I think it worked pretty well."
He added: "At the end of the day, we already have the contract so I'm not looking for the lap time and really the most important thing for me is to understand the tires and the team, and to get into the car. The lap time doesn't mean anything."