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It didn’t take very long for McLaren to stop praising new driver Sergio Perez and start urging him to step up his game. Team boss Martin Whitmarsh says the Mexican is not happy with his performance telling the press:

 

“Sergio is not satisfied with his performance this weekend,” said Whitmarsh. “He is a young driver and he had a difficult weekend.

 

“We haven’t given him a great car so far, and he is up against someone like Jenson who has done a fantastic job with the car we have given him.

 

“We, as a team, have to step up and support a young driver who has an enormous amount of talent.

 

“And with these tyres that are very fragile, with a car that is not quite there and with tricky racing, he did a reasonable job.

 

“But he is not satisfied with himself and nor should he be.”

The discussion of whether Perez could hang with Button this year or not seems to be answering itself in the first three races. While the team recognize they haven’t provided the drivers with a competitive car, they are looking to driver performance comparisons to asses Perez’s efforts. In that metric, he’s been down on pace compared to Button.

Is that a fair assessment of Perez so far? his first season at McLaren and he’s being urged to up his game compared to a guy who has been there for a few years and has his feet on the desk? Perez finished 11th in this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix and there is little doubt he’s not happy with it but his driving was criticized by Kimi Raikkonen as being aggressive. No doubt he’s putting more pressure on himself than the team is at this point and his driving may be showing that.

 

 

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • UAN

    “Is that a fair assessment of Perez so far? his first season at McLaren and he’s being urged to up his game compared to a guy who has been there for a few years and has his feet on the desk?”

    Hamilton did it in 2007 up against the reigning 2x WDC and nearly won the WDC. Vettel did it with Red Bull in 2009 with less races under his belt. Look at Hulkenberg. Pole with a Williams as a rookie, should have won Brazil in the Force India (or podium at least) and also led quite a bit in China – I believe it was Martin Brundle who said in China, it’s not a fluke that Hulkenberg lead in Brazil in a FI or here (China) in a Sauber.

    Perez got really out of shape at the end of last year and his driving yesterday was pretty out of shape as well. He’s under a lot of pressure and the question is, can he handle it? Bianchi is shining in a Marussia. Perhaps not a fair comparison, but Hamilton’s doing it to Rosberg in the Merc and Rosberg more than held his own against Schuey and is the guy that’s been there “for a few years and has his feet on the desk”.

    We’ll see how it goes. He could be similar to Senna, a solid peddler, but just not able to put it all together. (and despite what people say, Button has speed himself, and he was the wunderkind 220 odd races ago).

  • Steven

    THey should have got Hulk. They thought that because Perez had a few good drives he could be fast, but some of those good drives were only because the Sauber was easy on tires and he was passing cars on old tires. Plus im sure they got a sponsor package from him. Now they’er stuck with him. I hope, for his sake, that he improves. If he doesnt his F1 career could be over…

  • dude

    Perez’s career is far from over, probably a decade from over, especially with all that money. It’s still early in the season and he’s settling in with a bad car. On his best form I think he’s faster than Button, but maybe not as cunning, yet.

    • UAN

      he could go the way of Heikki K., except willing to be a pay driver.

    • Steven

      “I think he could”, “he should be”, “he could be”,”he would be”. Formula 1 waits fo no man, if he doesnt improve by mid season he could very well be sacked.
      I smile at the ones that say that he has a crappy car, but Button is driving the same car. If Perez is so good he should at least be matching Jens, but hes nowhere even close to him. And if they had picked Kobayashi he wouldnt be any better, as Kamui couldnt beat Checo. Its really hard to say who they should have hired instead, but I think the Hulk would have been a good choice.

  • Luigi

    Dude can´t drive… Not up to McLaren standards. That seat belonged to Hulkenberg, Sutil, whatever, not a rookie like Perez who occasionally took advantage of the best possible conditions in his Sauber.

  • McSerb

    If they want him to go faster then all he can do is board a plane.

  • JTW

    There was a lot of noise last year, by many on this blog, (including, cough, cough, me) that Ferrari should jettison Massa, and grab Perez. I guess Ferrari knew what they were doing by not listening to us.

    • lol…I’m not convinced yet. I think it takes time to get settled and he’ll come around. He’s got the pace but he hasn’t been in a McLaren before so it may take time.

      • UAN

        Lewis has the pace and he’s never been in a Mercedes before and …. oh nevermind lol :)

  • Rapierman

    First order of business, they have to give him a halfway-decent car that doesn’t fall apart. Then we’ll know if he’s not up to snuff.

  • Monsta Cee

    Perez is not handling the pressure I think. Time will be real test of his cope. And Perez is just not settled. If by spa or Monza he is still in this form its time to abort this guy. Webber?

    • JTW

      You know that’s not going to happen. Regardless of how he performs, barring injury, Perez will be in the car all year. If he doesn’t do well, and they look for an alternate next year, they aren’t going to go with someone who, regardless of how good he is, they would have to again replace in a year, or two.
      I think McLaren were caught absolutely flat-footed when Lewis left, and they had to scramble because they didn’t have a contingency plan.
      In that light, it strikes me that Whitmarsh is a nice guy, and would be pleasant to sit, and converse with, over a meal (unlike Ron Dennis). However, trying to be an objective observer (and I’m not particularly a McLaren fan), I wonder if the team is progressing as they should under Whitmarsh? Perhaps there are circumstances which are unknown to us, but under Whitmarsh’s tenure, the team has lost Lewis Hamilton, and Paddy Lowe, and seems to be stumbling. Just a thought …

  • mini696

    Is Perez too much like Button though?
    Does he require a fast car to drive fast?

    He doesn’t seem like Alonso or Hamilton who both can make a slow car go OK.

    Do teams need drivers of both kinds?

    • dude

      I noticed that Perez strategies seems to be quite similar, sometimes identical to Button. Though Button for now seems to get the better results.

  • JPS

    No guts, no glory…
    The guy is not good enough, Mclaren should try another one !