Martin Whitmarsh has insisted that he will help Sergio Perez find a new race seat with another team, after McLaren
opted not to renew the Mexican's contract for 2014.
"I am trying to help him get a drive," revealed the McLaren
team principal in Austin on Friday ahead of this weekend's United States Grand Prix
at the Circuit of the Americas.
"I have rung Force India
and I have rung Lotus. They both do a good job and I have recommended him because he deserves to be in F1," Whitmarsh said. "He certainly deserves to be in F1. He is an exciting driver to watch, he will go for it and I enjoy watching him.
"I've told him the Ferrari
seats have gone, the same with Mercedes, Red Bull
and Toro Rosso, and in truth he wasn't in the frame for any of those so he hasn't lost a seat," Whitmarsh added. "Williams had a seat but that has now gone [to Felipe Massa] but there is a Lotus seat, and one at Sauber, Force India, Caterham and Marussia."
Perez also received support from the team's sporting director Sam Michael, who praised the way that the driver had handled the situation since the news had been made public.
"Checo's doing a fantastic job at the moment considering the pressure that he's under, he's keeping his head level and being very professional about it," said Michael. "It's obviously a discussion that's been going on for quite some time. It's always going to be difficult when you make a call like that."
The team has been attacked for the way it's handled its decision regarding its 2014 driver line-up. For months, Whitmarsh had given the impression that renewing the contracts of both Perez and Jenson Button
was just a formality. In the end, only Button has been retained.
In the wake of this week's news that Perez is out in favour of Kevin Magnussen, McLaren
has been criticised for stringing Perez along until so late in the season that's it's almost impossible for him to find an alternative competitive seat for next year.
"People say our decision was terribly late, but what I have said to him is to stand back from it a bit," insisted Whitmarsh. "There is no seat closed to him and we can have no accusations we made the decision too late."