Sergio Perez has a bit to learn about dealing with the media when he steps up to a top team with McLaren next year.
Today in Suzuka he essentially admitted that he lied in the press conference in Singapore two weeks ago when he was asked very clearly if he had been approached by any top teams.
“Questioner: But have approaches been made?
Questioner: From major teams, no approaches?
A week later he was confirmed as a McLaren driver for 2013, replacing Lewis Hamilton. Sources suggest that the negotiations were already well advanced in Monza.
But today in the FIA press conference in Suzuka, Perez was picked up on this. He responded by saying that he had decided to say “No” in Singapore because it made his life easier that weekend,
“No, there has been some talks before but I didn’t want to give too much information about my opportunities, my options,” he said. “So the question doesn’t come that often because if I say at that time ‘yes’, then I will be full of questions. So it’s better to…
“I wanted to keep it in low profile, focussing always in my team, giving my hundred per cent to my team that I’m very thankfully they give me this opportunity. We have six races with a strong car to go and I want to leave on a very high from this team.”
Of course he is within his rights to be economical with the truth in the middle of a delicate negotiation and of course he was caught on the hop speaking in a second language, but he has been busted here and it’s embarrassing for him. This is Formula 1, a very high profile sport and all public figures have to learn how to deal with a direct question such as the one put to him in Singapore and know how to elegantly swerve it, if necessary.
Perez will have to learn how to deal with that. At McLaren the level of scrutiny will be much higher.