McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says he is delighted that Sergio Perez is set to remain in Formula 1 next year as speculation grew that the Mexican is closing in on a Force India deal.
Perez has been dropped by McLaren for 2014, but Whitmarsh revealed recently that he had called several teams ” including Force India ” to encourage them to take the Mexican. Those efforts appear to have paid off with Perez now believed to be on the verge of a contract with the Silverstone-based team.
Speaking about the prospect of Perez’s Force India switch, Whitmarsh said: “I am very happy. He is a young man, he has been incredibly dignified, and he is very much liked in this team. He is a thoroughly likeable guy and I’ve told him to prove us wrong! That is his job now.
“We have done what we can to help out getting him in there and he deserves to be in F1. I think he proved that [in the Brazilian GP]. He is an exciting driver and I know people at the beginning of the year were saying he is perhaps too exciting, but you cannot have that in F1. A young man is going to charge, take risks and try to fight his way through.
“I am delighted for him. He is a friend of the team but he will go out there and try to beat us. I hope that is the spirit he will take.”
SYMPATHY FOR di RESTA
Perez’s likely switch to Force India is expected to come at the expense of Paul di Resta, who does not yet have any firm plans for next season. Whitmarsh expressed some sadness about the prospect of di Resta losing his place, but said that a sad reality of modern F1 was that drivers with hefty sponsorship backing were getting better seats.
“It is a complicated sport these days, and there are drivers with less talent than Paul either entering the sport or remaining in the sport, and that is sad.
“It hasn’t been announced yet [that di Resta will not race in F1] but I think it is fairly well speculated that is what is going to happen.”