Perez form not a worry for Whitmarsh

By on Wednesday, November 7, 2012

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has insisted that the recent form of Sergio Perez is not a concern for the team.

Perez has failed to score a point since he was confirmed as Lewis Hamilton's replacement prior to the Japanese Grand Prix.

Perez spun out in Suzuka, was criticised for his aggression in Korea by future team mate Jenson Button, sustained a puncture when trying to overtake Daniel Ricciardo in India and received a stop and go penalty in Abu Dhabi for causing a collision that eliminated Mark Webber and Romain Grosjean.

When asked whether Perez's form was a concern, Whitmarsh insisted that it isn't.

"I don't think so. He has been driving a Sauber and no one knows how good that Sauber is.  He is very young. He is only the same age as when Lewis started in Formula One. He hasn't been wildly groomed I would say, but despite all of those things he's been able to sparkle. In Monaco, last year, as a rookie, was the first time we started to monitor [him] and since then he has had some giant-killing podiums", he said.

"He's got something but we don't know whether that something is enough to be groomed into a world champion. I think it might be so therefore it is an interesting challenge".

Whitmarsh added that Perez will find the move from Sauber to McLaren striking.

"He is going to find a different world at McLaren. He will turn up in Australia next year with so much more pressure on his shoulders and that is something he has to be groomed to deal with. McLaren since 1966 has won more than 25 per cent of the all the races in which it has competed in".

"If you turn up and we're not on the first two rows and not competing for the win, then ourselves and Ferrari get that pressure in the way that no other Formula One team does. When Red Bull weren't competitive no one was piling into them so there is an added pressure to being a McLaren driver. He might thinks he understands it, but he doesn't."

Whitmarsh also defended the decision not to hire Paul di Resta and added that McLaren has the best line-up available.

"Humanly I know Paul very well and helped him out on a number of things so from that perspective yes, but actually we are an international team. We are an international brand. We happen to have two great British drivers at the moment but looking forward we had two British drivers because they were the two best I could hire, and we've got a British and a Mexican because they are the best two I could hire for the upcoming season and that is where we are at".

"We have the best possible line up that was available to us. I think it is quite interesting. Jenson is a very relaxed individual and comfortable in his own skin. He's a real gent. We say nice things about drivers but in the case of Jenson everyone knows that it is true".

"Bear in mind Jenson is involved in the management of Paul Di Resta, when I rang Jenson in Japan a few weeks ago and said "by the way we have made a change and we've hired Sergio", he said "that's a really good move and I look forward to it".

I think he will be very good with Sergio because Sergio has got a lot to learn. But when they get to Australia on the track, he will want to beat Sergio and we have to make sure, and I believe, Sergio will want to beat Jenson and that's how we run our team That's the dynamics that we enjoy".

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