Whitmarsh: Perez is an exciting driver and I am trying to help him get a drive
16 November, 2013
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has made a remarkable – if not bizarre – admission when he revealed that he is trying his best to help Sergio Perez to find a drive in Formula 1 next year, despite earlier this week axing the 23 year old Mexican in favour of the unproven talents of Kevin Magnussen.
Speaking to Sky Sports Whitmarsh said, “I am trying to help him get a drive. People say our decision was terribly late, but what I have said to him is to stand back from it a bit. 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. At the time [of the decision] Williams had a seat, but that has now gone, but there is a Lotus seat, and one at Sauber, Force India, Caterham and Marussia.”
“So there is no seat closed to him and we can have no accusations [that] we made the decision too late. 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 Formula 1,” said Whitmarsh.
“He is an exciting driver, and I don’t want to talk about why we didn’t re-sign him. I would rather say we saw such great potential in Kevin that we decided to sign Kevin. It was not about what Checo did wrong. What Checo did wrong was that Kevin existed. Kevin was part of our programme,” explained the McLaren team principal, who has gone on record claiming that Magnussen is the next Lewis Hamilton.
“If you go up and down the pit lane and speak to the knowledgeable people they will say Kevin is the most exciting young driver not [yet] in F1. Now I went up and down the pit lane [to speak to people about a deal for Magnussen] and no one wanted to do it, so we went for it,” revealed Whitmarsh.
“We could have taken a lot of the drivers that are available, the experienced guys, but we made a decision we wouldn’t take any of those guys in preference to Checo. That is why I can reasonably recommend him to another team because, as I say, he certainly deserves to be in F1. He is an exciting driver to watch, he will go for it and I enjoy watching him.
“When he was at Sauber I thought ‘That was good, let’s see what we can make of it’, but it hasn’t worked out for us. I don’t regret it, I didn’t have a Kevin last year – so it is as simple as that. If I didn’t have a Kevin or a Stoffel [Vandoorne] now we probably wouldn’t be making the change, but we have a Kevin, and we need to try to get him in,” concluded the McLaren team principal. (GP247)
Subbed by AJN.