Watson claims McLaren chose money over talent

Martin Whitmarsh with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez

Martin Whitmarsh with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez

Former McLaren driver John Watson has accused his former team of effectively hiring a pay-driver to replace Lewis Hamilton in 2013.

Ulsterman Watson, a McLaren winner three decades ago, thinks McLaren was tempted by team newcomer Sergio Perez’s connections to the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.

“Politically they have always tried to employ the best possible drivers who were available. Not who they could afford but who were available,” he told the Guardian.

“There were other options and some of those were probably ones I would have gone for,” said Watson, who said Nico Hulkenberg and Kimi Raikkonen would have been better choices in his opinion.

“Unfortunately they’ve ended up with Perez and the fact he’s associated with Carlos Slim will have some value to McLaren,” he continued.

“McLaren have always sought the best talent and clearly that is not the case right now,” the 66-year-old Briton added.

  • paul newmann

    said by the one that only won 2 races of more than 152 that he started…..

  • Rod Salazar

    Poor Watson. Is too old to realize that in any place at McLaren figures any logo related with any brand of Mr. Slim.
    Watson, do you really think that Mr. Slim, son of the most richiest man on Earth, will pay a penny, just to not get any exposure of his -multiple- brands. That thinking is merely… cheap, to do not be agressive.
    But honestly, ypur comment, out of reasonable point, is just xenophobic. And stupid

  • WTkFox

    The money was a bit of a bonus.
    Perez’s driving style is very conservative and Button is conservative, making them an interesting pairing to say the least. As the car is going to be built around Button, who is to say that Perez won’t be able to tame it?

  • pitwall

    @Paul Newmann … yep. Bet it won’t take 152 races for Chico to win 2 with McLaren

  • Kamen

    Spoken like true McLaren fans . Mr Watson has a point , I really hope for your sake Perez doesn’t turn out like H.Kovalainen going with McLaren …..

  • fgfdgfdgdf

    And what if he takes the championship in his first year at Mclaren, just as Kimi did with Ferrari? What will everyone say then? Let the season start before judging. I also thought years ago that they should have signed Rosberg instead of Button.

  • coefficientf1

    Yep, the guy talks shit when he’s commentating too! The A1GP commentary he did was hilarious, I used to think the soundtrack was taken from a different race to the VT half the time.

  • MclarenForTheWin

    didnt martin say that perez isnt a pay driver anymore? the moment he was signed up for mclaren

  • Apex Assassin

    Watson is right. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t know F1.

    Vodafone announced last year that this is the last year with Mclaren and possibly F1.

    Couple that with Santander moving to Ferrari and who is left at Mclaren? TelMex. It really is that simple.

    Though I’m curious how Macca will feature Honda and TelMex colours in the same livery.

  • oldbiker1

    Hey guys, c’mon, this is just another has-been who’s been contacted for an opinion and feels he has to say something controversial.

    Just look at the right hand sidebar to see that today you’ve got Schumacher, Hill, Villeneuve, even Kimi Raikkonen’s mum giving observations and opinions !

    It’s getting more like the agony aunt column on one of the tabloids, but only a couple of days left before all the pre-season bull***t stops.