Welcome to F1, now climb that frozen waterfall

LONDON (Reuters) - Mexican rookie Sergio Perez has been getting in shape for his first Formula One race by climbing a frozen waterfall with his Sauber team mates.

The Swiss-based team said on Thursday that the unusual activity formed part of a four-day pre-season fitness camp at a sports facility above the Walensee lake.

Perez, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Wednesday, took part in a range of activities with Japanese team mate Kamui Kobayashi and new Mexican test and reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez.

"We did a lot of work and I'm quite happy with the shape I am in," said Perez.

"I enjoyed every exercise with my favorites being climbing in a frozen waterfall, followed by cross country skiing. It was also very important and a really nice experience to spend time with my new team mates and build up relationships with them."

The team said the drivers were put through various performance tests at the Swiss Olympic Medical Center to determine their levels of endurance, strength and coordination and to improve reaction times.

The activities included bowling and pistol shooting, Kobayashi's favorite.

"There's a lot of fun involved in days like these, but you also get to see how everyone responds to pressure, sometimes you have to overcome yourself, and you learn to rely on your team mates," said program overseer Markus Angst.

"During the ice climbing, for example, we were roped together both metaphorically and literally."

The season starts in Bahrain on March 13. Sauber will present their new Ferrari-powered car at the Valencia circuit next Monday on the eve of the first pre-season test.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Ed Osmond)