McLaren unsure how good Perez really is

Tue Nov 6, 2012 3:52pm GMT
 

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - McLaren have recognised that they do not know just how good Mexican signing Sergio Perez really is.

The 22-year-old Formula One driver has failed to score a point in the four races since he was announced in September as successor to departing 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton, who will be racing for Mercedes next season.

Before the announcement, Perez had chalked up three podium finishes with Sauber.

"I think he's got a lot of talent but if I'm honest, I don't know," McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh told reporters when asked about his new signing's potential at the weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"We wouldn't have signed him unless we thought that he could go to another level, but we don't know," added the Briton.

Perez, whose Japanese team mate Kamui Kobayashi has scored 23 points in his last four races, is the same age as Hamilton was when he joined McLaren in 2007 for what was to turn out to be a sensational debut season.

The Mexican has been at Sauber for two years and was seen initially as a 'pay driver', someone who owes his seat as much to the financial backing he brings as his talent.

That notion changed this season, with Perez earning considerable praise for the way in which he has managed the tyres and fought for podium placings.   Continued...

Sauber Formula One driver Sergio Perez of Mexico drives during the first practice session of the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit on Yas Island November 2, 2012. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside
 
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