No driver is bigger than McLaren A defiant Martin Whitmarsh has vowed that "no-one is bigger than the team" as McLaren turn their attention to a future without the departing Lewis Hamilton.
One of the longest running transfer sagas in Formula 1 history finally came to an end on Friday when it was confirmed that Hamilton would join Mercedes at the end of the season, with Sergio Perez taking his seat at McLaren.
The highly-rated Mexican has signed a multi-year deal with the British team and Whitmarsh believes there is no reason why McLaren cannot continue to prosper when Perez switches from Sauber.
"He is the most exciting young talent in Formula 1 today," Whitmarsh told Sky Sports F1 HD.
"So for McLaren, I think we consider ourselves very fortunate to pull in someone of that talent. I think we have proven we can take young talent and develop them into World Champions and that is our mission now with Sergio.
"Since 1966 we have won over 25% of all those Grands Prix, whatever the driver line-up. We are a great team, no-one is bigger than this team and I think we look forward to a great line-up."
2009 World Champion Jenson Button remains with McLaren and will lead the team as it embarks on a new era. And Whitmarsh is hoping the experienced 32-year-old, who will embark on his 14th season in F1 next season, can help nurture Perez, ten years Jenson's junior.
"Jenson has great experience, he is someone who is a real asset to this team," Whitmarsh continued.
"I spoke to Jenson yesterday and he confirmed to me that we made a great choice in Sergio and he is looking forward to working with him.
"Jenson will be able to help us nurture and develop Sergio, he will do because he has got that spirit, he's that sort of personality. But, he will want to beat Sergio and Sergio will want to beat him."
It is well known that Perez brings substantial backing from his native Mexico to his current Sauber team, but Whitmarsh was quick to dismiss any thoughts that this was a factor in his capture.
"He is not a pay driver, he is being paid a lot of money," he stressed.
"Sponsorship was not a factor - we picked Sergio because he is the most exciting young talent in Formula 1. Do I believe there will be some exciting commercial opportunities in the future? Yes. Have we looked at them yet? No. We concentrated on getting the best driver line-up we can have for next year." Sky Sports