As Sergio Perez' future with McLaren continues to invite questions and speculation within the F1 paddock, the young Mexican admitted this weekend in Singapore that he needs to do better if he's to hang on to one of the prime race seats in motorsport.
"I have to say that I'm not happy with my performance at all," said Perez at the Marina Bay circuit. "I know I have to improve and I'm working very hard with my team to improve."
A large part of the frustration lies with the current McLaren MP4-28, which even the team would be quick to admit simply hasn't delivered on expectations during the 2013 season and made Perez' transition to the Woking-based squad even more of an uphill squad than he'd expected it to be.
"The car and the year have been very difficult. All the season we're still learning about the car, so it makes things difficult," Perez agreed. ""I think today was an example. We had some problems with the car and we made one or two bad calls and suddenly we lost two tenths, which put us out of Q3 and compromises our weekend."
Missing out on Q3 couldn't have come at a worse time, with speculation that McLaren might be rethinking their decision to go for a comparatively inexperienced rookie and instead setting their sights on poaching the services of a former McLaren driver Fernando Alonso from Ferrari.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, whose comments on Thursday about any team in the paddock being interested in securing Alonso's services should then become available sparked the current speculation, continued to insist that he fully supported Perez and expected an unchanged driver time-up at McLaren in 2014.
"We're not making the announcement, but I have said several times and I'll say it again, that I don't foresee a change in our driver line-up and I think both guys have made comments about their position for next year - and I think they were both accurate in what they said," Whitmarsh said.
Jenson Button confirmed to reporters in Singapore that his deal was signed even if it wasn't being formally announced at this point. Perez was conspicuously unable to state the same, and with his personal manager Adrian Fernandez absent from this weekend's Grand Prix there were rumours that Perez's future at McLaren was in jeopardy and that the young Mexican was seeking new representation.
While Perez had no comment on the rumours, Whitmarsh was quick to support him and give reassurance about his place at Woking and said that his comments about Alonso has been twisted and misreported by the press.