A fellow team boss reneged on a deal to sign Kevin Magnussen for 2014, Martin Whitmarsh has revealed.
The McLaren boss has said that if the impressive rookie Dane was not making his F1 debut for the Woking based team next year, the ousted Sergio Perez would have kept his seat.
Whitmarsh claims he tried to accommodate Magnussen elsewhere in pitlane for 2014, but ultimately failed. The 21-year-old was earlier linked with Marussia and Force India.
“I hoped and tried to find him a cockpit,” Whitmarsh told F1’s official website in Brazil.
“I even did a deal and shook hands with a team principal up and down this paddock – an absolute deal – but he stepped back,” he revealed.
Asked to identify his reneging colleague, Whitmarsh answered: “I would like to, but I won’t.
“Even after 25 years I find that difficult to deal with — I know I shouldn’t, but I am still hopelessly naive.
“I still think that if you look somebody in the eye and shake hands then that’s a done deal. When it turns out like in the Magnussen case, then I am shocked, and I tell myself ‘learn, don’t be naive’.
“So having to face this situation, I decided ‘let’s go for it with Kevin ourselves’,” added Whitmarsh.
He said he is happy McLaren is doing its bit to bring new drivers into the sport, just as it did with Lewis Hamilton in 2007.
“I think F1 needs these young super talents to come in, but the problem with the sport at the moment is that money is doing most of the talking with most of the teams and there is a danger that we create a vacuum of young talents,” said Whitmarsh.
His next target is to find a seat for McLaren’s other in-house development talent, Stoffel Vandoorne.
“If we don’t find an F1 cockpit at another team for Stoffel we probably will put him in GP2,” Whitmarsh revealed.
“The danger with GP2 is that you have a lot of drivers there with financial backing who stay for four or five years — and that is the wrong signal. After two years, kick them out,” he said.
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