April 16th, 2013 (F1plus).- McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has admitted new team driver Sergio Perez has struggled since replacing Lewis Hamilton. The adjustment process s still going, still, it's been three races so demand for results is going to grow.
After a poor weekend for the young Mexican in China, including a rebuke from Kimi Raikkonen following an on-track run-in, British commentator Martin Brundle said he would have signed Nico Hulkenberg for 2013 "ten times before (signing) Perez."
Immediately after Shanghai, Whitmarsh backed Perez's defensive driving in China, having told the 23-year-old to put his "elbows" out and "be robust without being dirty".
But he does admit that the Carlos Slim-linked Mexican needs to up his game.
"I know Sergio is not satisfied with his performance at the weekend, nor should he be," Whitmarsh told reporters.
The Woking based team's chief admitted Jenson Button's "fantastic job" in the sister car has made life difficult for Perez.
"A lot of credit to Jenson, but we as a team have to step up and support a young driver who has an enormous amount of talent," said Whitmarsh.
"With these sorts of tyres, which are very fragile, with the balance not quite there, with tricky racing, he did a reasonable job.
"As a young guy in a big team with lots of expectations you are under a lot more scrutiny, and it's tougher when you've a teammate doing a great job, so there is pressure there," he added.
The Mexican came from Sauber to fill the seat left by Mercedes bound Hamilton. At the time there were three possible candidates: Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, with the latter being selected.
Perez had impressive performances in 2012 that included three podium visits, including two second places that having a couple of more laps could have turned into victories (Malaysia and Monza).
Nevertheless, after the Italian GP he only claimed one point at the very next race at Singapore to then disappear into oblivion for the rest of the year (while being snatched by McLaren) with no other units added to his tally.
McLaren is about three times bigger than Sauber and from the media standpoint probably about 10, so the level of attention and scrutiny has raised considerable for the Mexican. There's an adjustment process and how that will take is always uncertain.
The talent is there, so things should click very soon, although is not helping the MP4-28 lack of pace.