Martin Whitmarsh keeps faith in Sergio Perez despite Mexican's recent struggles
McLaren to spend winter 'getting Sergio ready' for scrutiny
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 17/11/12 6:27pm
The Mexican has, in fact, not scored a point since September and only one in his last five races. In Abu Dhabi, the Sauber driver was given a stop-go penalty after crashing into Romain Grosjean and was widely considered to have been fortunate to have avoided punishment after a collision with Charles Pic's Marussia during Practice Three for the U.S. GP.
However, the man who has appointed Perez as Jenson Button's team-mate for 2013 says he has no worries about the Mexican.
"In Abu Dhabi there were some instances and I saw him. I talked to him about what we were going to do during the winter," McLaren Whitmarsh told Sky Sports F1 during the build-up to qualifying at Austin.
"I told him I'm not even going to talk to you about your driving at the moment and what I liked was he said 'look, I'm driving at the moment, I'm not leading races, I'm not driving for a championship, you take more risks'. He had the presence of mind to give me a quick answer and one that demonstrates he's thinking about what he's doing - it isn't wild.
"He knows when you are trying to win races and championships, you have to be a little more circumspect on occasion."
Whitmarsh has, however, conceded that McLaren have no way of knowing if their new employee will be able to cope with the pressure of being a frontrunning driver until he is thrown into the heat of battle in Melbourne at the start of the 2013 campaign.
"He's very young and, as we said at the outset, he's someone who has shown great potential, but he hasn't been put under the pressure of driving for McLaren. When he arrives in Australian, he will be under the microscope. But's he has a nice humility, he's an intelligent young man and we've now got to spend the winter getting him ready for the scrutiny of being a McLaren driver."