McLaren expect Sergio Perez to enjoy Formula One success

By Jonathan JurejkoBBC Sport
Sergio Perez (right) will replace Lewis Hamilton at McLaren next season
Sergio Perez (right) will replace Lewis Hamilton at McLaren next season

New McLaren recruit Sergio Perez is expected to win races, says the team's sporting director Sam Michael.

Perez, 22, replaces 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton, who will join Mercedes at the end of the current season.

The Mexican is a product of Ferrari's driver academy, but their president Luca di Montezemolo claimedexternal-link he "lacks experience" at the front of the grid.

However, Michael said: "The expectation will be on him to perform to the top level of a McLaren driver."

Perez has accumulated 80 points in his 34 grand prixs, with a best finish of second - achieved twice this season in Malaysia and Italy - and Michael believes his new recruit can continue to progress at McLaren.

Michael added: "In terms of expecting him to come out and win the first race [of the 2013 season], if the car is fast enough and he's competitive enough against his team-mate then I'm sure he will do that.

"He is someone who wants to make the next step and time will tell where he will be next year.

"He's going to be quite keen to perform for McLaren. And we've got high hopes for him."

Meanwhile, Michael insists McLaren will not change their approach to this weekend's Indian Grand Prix, despite Hamilton conceding his title hopes are over as he prepares for his forthcoming exit.

The Woking-based team also face a huge task to clinch the Constructors' Championship as they trail leaders Red Bull by 83 points with only four races remaining.

But Michael is adamant they can beat Red Bull, who have won the last three races, in New Delhi.

"It doesn't change anything," said Michael. "We don't plan anything different, you turn up at a Grand Prix circuit to win every race and we do our best to achieve that.

"You don't make any decisions whether it is set up, or strategy, or development, or parts, that either puts you at risk of not finishing the race or doesn't bring maximum performance of the car.

"That is regardless of where you are in the Championship. It doesn't change anything. We're turning up and trying to finish first and second in the last four races.

"In terms of the next four, they are quite different circuits. We believe we can take the challenge to Red Bull in the last four races."