From the cockpit of his Sauber last year and in 2012, the 22-year-old Mexican convinced F1 grandee McLaren that he is good enough to replace Lewis Hamilton next season.
But since the news was announced, Perez's form has apparently collapsed: despite his earlier podiums, in Suzuka he crashed, in Korea he finished out of the points and last weekend in India he retired after a run-in with a Toro Rosso -- a move said to have particularly displeased his boss Monisha Kaltenborn.
McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh, however, has defended his new signing, albeit admitting Perez is "raw" and adding: "If he hasn't something to learn at 22 then there's something wrong."
In Abu Dhabi on Thursday, meanwhile, Perez scotched claims he has let his focus on this season slip as he gears up for his top 2013 drive.
"I am fully focused," he insisted. "What has happened is just a coincidence.
"I just want to give my best, but it's normal people start to make up stories I'm not doing very well following the McLaren deal."