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Whitmarsh impressed by Perez
Martin Whitmarsh says he has been impressed by Sergio Perez so far and says the chance to turn him in to a world champion is "exciting".
Perez started work at McLaren with a number of media commitments on Wednesday after replacing Lewis Hamilton who has moved to Mercedes. While Perez has yet to win a grand prix, he displayed his potential with three podiums for Sauber in 2012 and Whitmarsh said he was excited to work with him given McLaren's track record of developing young talents.
"He is very young, very bright, and very talented and that's exciting," Whitmarsh told Sky. "We've had the good fortune to see very young drivers and bring them through; obviously Lewis is the one that people will talk about but Mika Hakkinen was around when we brought him in as a youngster and turned him in to a world champion. So we're at the start of that, we don't know which way it's going to go. We're hopeful, we're excited but it's a great challenge. There's a lot of pressure on Sergio to deliver in this team but he's impressed me so far and we'll see what happens in the coming weeks."
Whitmarsh also backed up Perez's ambition to win the world championship this year, saying it was the required mindset for a McLaren driver.
"We have to make a good car and he has to deliver consistently on the track, but why wouldn't you - if you were a McLaren driver - have that aspiration? I think he's realistic and I think he's got a great blend if you talk to him; he's got a lot of charm, a lot of intelligence, a lot of humility, but there's this steely determination and self-belief underneath it.
"If this guy is going to come and drive a McLaren but doesn't think he's going to be world champion we've picked the wrong one haven't we? We expect people to come in to this team and to want to be world champion; whether they're coming in as a mechanic or a technician or an engineer or anyone - unless you have that belief and that goal you're not going to achieve it."