The signing of Sergio Perez at first looked like a good move by McLaren. But after he has failed to score points in any races since his announcement the decision is starting to look slightly less appealing.
When McLaren confirmed Perez in September he had scored podiums in Malaysia, Canada and Italy but in the four races since the announcement he has failed to score a single point.
Perhaps the pressure of the spotlight being focused on him has led to some of the erratic driving of the last few races. In Japan Perez’s botched attempt at overtaking the man he is to replace, Lewis Hamilton, left him spinning into the gravel and having to retire. He also retired in India after a puncture caused by clipping Daniel Ricciardo’s front wing.
Most recently in Abu Dhabi Perez was involved in an incident when he attempted to overtake Paul di Resta forcing him onto the grass and then running wide into the path of Romain Grosjean. Grosjean and Mark Webber then collided and were both forced to retire. Perez was handed a 10 second stop-go penalty and went onto finish 15th.
These incidents do little to give McLaren reason to think they have made the right decision. When other drivers have begun to shine, Perez has faltered, someone, somewhere in McLaren must be wondering if they have made the right decision.
Questions over Perez’s move to McLaren won’t have been helped by Martin Whitmarsh admitting this week that he can’t be sure of his potential with McLaren.
There weren’t a shortage of drivers on offer to McLaren but they were most likely swayed by Perez’s early season success.
Some might suggest that on recent evidence Sauber have ended up with the better end of the deal by signing Nico Hulkenberg for 2013. Whilst Perez has had some disastrous weekends of late Hulkenberg has begun to shine as the season draws to its close.
To be fair to Perez, he is an exciting prospect for the future and his podiums show that he has the potential to win races. But if he can’t race at his best knowing he has a 2013 race seat, and a rather good race seat, guaranteed then it doesn’t bode well for the future.