Sergio Perez is adamant Red Bull will not steer him away from a battle with Max Verstappen for the Formula One title.
Red Bull have dominated the opening two rounds of the season, securing one-two finishes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, with Verstappen holding a narrow one-point lead over his team-mate courtesy of the fastest lap in Jeddah.
Verstappen's push for the extra championship point last time out saw sparks flying at Red Bull, with Perez unhappy he was not given a similar message over team radio and ultimately not making a bid himself to set the fastest time.
Suggestions that tempers are flaring in the paddock have been downplayed, however, and Mexican driver Perez feels he has support within the team to launch his own bid for the title.
The season continues this weekend at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
"When I first came to the team [ahead of the 2021 season], things were very different. Basically, they were just going racing with two cars because they had to," Perez said, quoted by BBC Sport.
"I can now say that I really feel part of the team, have my place and am well respected.
"I really believe I have the team's full support, as much as Max does, and that I will have every opportunity to win the championship, as much as Max."
While going wheel-to-wheel with Verstappen could lead to tensions over the course of the season, Perez feels the pair have the maturity to deal with any rivalry that could emerge on track.
"I'm here to do the best possible thing for myself as well. To be honest, we have a lot more respect for each other than people might think," Perez said.
"Inside the team, there is a very high level of respect with each other. I think we are both mature enough to know what's right and what's wrong and, as long as that keeps being the case, I don't expect anything to change."