Whitmarsh: Perez still learning
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh readily accepts Sergio Perez still has plenty to learn after an inauspicious run for the young Mexican.
It is a remarkable statistic, but since Perez was confirmed to drive for McLaren for next season he has yet to score a point for Sauber in the last three races over the past month.
In Japan, Perez slid into a gravel trap after failing with a move on Lewis Hamilton, the man he will be replacing at McLaren, and that was followed a week later by an 11th-placed finish in Korea behind the Briton.
On Sunday in India, the 22-year-old clipped Daniel Ricciardo's Toro Rosso and sustained a puncture that caused damage to the car as he toured back to the garage, forcing him into retirement.
In terms of trying to impress his new employers since putting pen to paper on a multi-year contract, Perez has so far not done a very good job, not that Whitmarsh is concerned.
When it was suggested to Whitmarsh that Perez had another eventful race in India, the 54-year-old laughed before conceding: "Yeah, he did.
"My thoughts are you're out in the mix, and he's a young and exciting driver - exciting can be good, can be bad.
"But he did a fantastic job in qualifying (starting eighth), showed he is quick, that he has the speed and he wants to get up there and win.
"If he hasn't something to learn at 22 then there's something wrong.
"Now I haven't spent very much time with him, but the time I have spent he has shown himself to be very intelligent, very ambitious, and at the moment he has a good level of humility."
Whitmarsh then smiled and added: "If we can turn him into a world champion then no doubt he will lose some of that (humility) along the way."
Perez is not due to join McLaren until the start of 2013 as his deal with Sauber expires at the end of the year, not simply at the end of the season.
There is the prospect Sauber may allow Perez access to McLaren at an early juncture given the strong bond between the two teams, but for now Whitmarsh is playing a waiting game.
"We've not had very much contact with Sergio since we signed him because we have to be respectful of the fact he is doing a job at Sauber," said Whitmarsh.
"We're doing our job and he is doing his. So there is limited contact at the moment.
"But Sauber have been very gracious, accepted what's happening and understand why Sergio is doing it (moving to McLaren), and we've a good relationship with them.
"So I don't think it's appropriate to push the point at the moment."
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