Whitmarsh: Perez no apprentice at McLaren 03 Oct 2012
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh sees no reason 2013 signing Sergio Perez cannot challenge for victories from the outset next season, despite his lack of experience compared to former world champion team mate Jenson Button.
McLaren have recruited Perez on a multi-year contract to replace the Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton, and after his three podium finishes for Sauber this year, Whitmarsh believes the Mexican is capable of quickly moving up to the top step, given the right equipment.
I dont see why - if we give him a good enough car - he cant turn up at the first race in Australia vying for a win, Whitmarsh told a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. I dont think he will consider himself an apprentice. I think he will be a quick learner. Time will tell on this, but were optimistic and ambitious for him next year.
Whitmarsh admitted McLaren had looked at a number of alternative drivers for their 2013 line-up, but had ultimately opted for Perez based on his combination of on-track talent and off-track persona.
Obviously we considered a number of options, he said. I think Sergio is very young. If you look at what he did in Monaco, setting fastest lap - that was quite an attention-grabbing performance. And hes obviously had some giant-killing podium race performances this year.
So I think its really just watching him on the circuit and his attitude. Hes a very intelligent, humble individual and we think hes got greater potential than hes shown so far.
In the meantime, prior to Perezs arrival, Whitmarsh insisted that Hamilton and McLaren will remain united in their efforts to land the Briton a second drivers title and the team a ninth Formula One constructors crown.
Weve got six races to go, weve got a competitive car, two competitive race drivers and two championships that are still in our sight, he added. What were all hoping - Lewis and the team - is that we really focus now.
We are committed to working as hard as we can to allow Lewis every opportunity to try and achieve a drivers world championship and at the same time I believe Lewis is totally committed to working hard with the team to contribute to our assault on the constructors championship.
Hamilton is currently fourth in the driver standings, 52 points behind leader Fernando Alonso, while McLaren lie second in the constructors rankings, 36 points adrift of Red Bull.
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