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'McLaren year improved Perez'

Thursday 06-March-2014 05:06

Rather than dent his confidence, Bob Fernley believes Sergio Perez's year with McLaren has made him a better driver.

Having impressed everyone in the paddock during a stellar 2012 season with Sauber, Perez was called up to McLaren to replace Lewis Hamilton.

The Mexican driver, though, arrived at a bad time for the team.

Struggling to get the most out of the MP4-28 and its Pirelli tyres, neither Perez nor team-mate Jenson Button secured a single podium finish last season.

And, at the end of it all, Perez was let go in favour of rookie racer Kevin Magnussen.

But rather than the year turning out to be a blow to Perez's confidence, Force India deputy team team Fernley says it has boosted the driver.

"Checo's time with McLaren will benefit us enormously here as he's embraced the disciplines that go with running with a top team," Fernley told Autosport.

"I thought that the last six months that he was with McLaren he matured well. He still had that aggressive touch but it was contained.

"The thing that the fans find exciting, but teams find worrying, is when you go for a gap at Monaco that isn't there.

"[In] the second six months he was very measured in the way he approached things and had great success in terms of what he was doing driving-wise.

"I believe that, again, we have benefitted from the McLaren process."

As for claims by some that Perez is arrogant, Fernley welcomes that saying it is a good aspect for a driver to have in their make-up.

"A driver has to have an element of arrogance, otherwise they don't believe in themselves," he said.

"They've got to believe in their minds that they're the best that's out there.

"That must be unshakeable because if it isn't then the doubts come in and that's when they start to struggle.

"Checo's easy to work with and he'll take the team with him, like Nico does.

"What better team-mate could Checo have than Nico?

"We don't need to do anything because he's going to be sitting next to somebody who is rated as a potential world champion [and] who's going to challenge him every time he sits in the car."

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