The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat
After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid
Daniel Ricciardo isn’t the only driver to have been through tough times as a member of McLaren. Two other current F1 racers each spent one year as part of the Woking empire and both nearly lost their reputations as a result. Yet they have recovered to become well-respected competitors – and one of them has bounced back not once but twice, proving that attitude and determination can work.
Some impressive performances over two years at Sauber persuaded Martin Whitmarsh, then team principal at McLaren, to sign Sergio Perez for the 2013 season. Perez replaced Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton and joined another world champion, Jenson Button. But it wasn’t good timing from an engineering point of view; the MP4-28 incorporated new ideas which proved to be overly ambitious and Perez found himself
in a car even Button struggled with; for the first time since 1980 neither McLaren driver achieved a podium.
The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old
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