Sergio Perez will not be allowed time to bed himself into life at McLaren this season, with the team saying that it expects him to be a match for veteran Jenson Button.
The Mexican moved into the Woking fold as replacement for Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton, and has enjoyed a full winter with the team as it attempts to keep pace with Red Bull and Ferrari in 2013. With sceptics suggesting that Nico Hulkenberg may have been a better choice to partner Button this season, the pressure is already on Perez to perform, and McLaren is not about to make life any easier for the former Sauber driver.
"Sergio knows that we expect him to race hard and not come and be content to park the car two grid places behind Jenson,” managing director Jonathan Neale confirmed to Reuters
, “That's not what we hired him for - I expect him to be trading places with Jenson from the get-go.
"When I look up at the timing screen, I want to see them close. We have high expectations of him, so he'd better be up the front if the car's capable [of it] - that's what we pay him for.”
Although Button has already shown what he is capable of, both in McLaren colours and previously in his F1 career, the pressure is no less intense.
“If we give them a package in which we can show that the car can be qualified in the top three or four places, then we expect wins from both
of them," Neale concluded, “Then we know we've got each side of the garage really competing, which is what we've set the system up for."