26 May 2013
McLaren: Perez a great team player
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh says both Sergio Perez and Jenson Button have the right to be frustrated by their lot in 2013.
Although he has been unable to live up to his lofty ambitions of challenging for the 2013 F1 world championship, McLaren admits that it has no reason to feel let down by Sergio Perez.
Much was made of the team's choice of Perez as Lewis Hamilton's replacement when the likes of Nico Hulkenberg were also on the market, and the Mexican's early season performances – after a six-race scoreless streak that follow his signing in late 2012 - did little to ease his transition from Sauber.
However, with new team-mate Jenson Button also struggling with a car that McLaren has now admitted was a development step too far from its competitive 2012 model, the Woking team has said that it is they that owe its recruit an apology.
“'Checo' has the right to be disappointed,” team principal Martin Whitmarsh told the official F1 website, “We wanted him to come into a competitive situation at McLaren, so he's got the right [to be disappointed]. But he manages that very well for such a young man. He's been an excellent team player.
“He came into a massively pressured situation where our car is not as competitive as he, and we, wanted it to be. [In] the first three races, he made no mistakes, but he was probably a bit hesitant. In Bahrain, he very aggressively out-raced his team-mate - that was a good measure. The following race, he out-qualified his team-mate - and his team-mate is a very high-standard driver and proven world champion. So I think it is fair to say that, [in] the first three races, he looked a little bit hesitant and cautious, trying not to make mistakes because, if had he made mistakes, everybody would have jumped on him.
“We are absolutely delighted with him. If we give him a good enough car, he will win races and, if we get it together well enough, he's going to win a world championship.”
Whitmarsh also admitted that Button had the right to be frustrated at the lack of performance from the 2013 car, having finished 2012 on a high with victory in Brazil.
“We all thought that he would have [challenged], so he has every right to feel disappointed and it's great of him that he has kept this disappointment to himself, the team boss said, “That makes him a great team player.”
Insisting that there was progress being made at Woking, Whitmarsh claimed that he hoped both drivers would be closer to the front at McLaren's home race.
“We will have a quicker car in Silverstone than we have today,” he concluded, “How much we gain I can't predict, as it is also depends on what our competitors do. But I know there is no point dwelling on disappointment.”
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