Sergio Perez will drive for McLaren in 2013 after the team announced a “multi-year” deal with the Sauber driver.
Perez will take the place of Lewis Hamilton, who is widely believed to be about to confirm a move to Mercedes.
A trio of podium finishes in his second season so far has marked Perez out as a driver of the future.
“I?óÔé¼Ôäóm thrilled and delighted to have become a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver,” said Perez.
“The McLaren name is one of the greatest in the history of Formula 1. For more than 40 years McLaren has been a team that every racing driver has aspired to drive for ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ I was brought up on the great stories of Ayrton Senna’s many world championship triumphs for McLaren ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ and I’m truly honoured that they’ve chosen me to partner Jenson from 2013 onwards.”
Perez added: “I’d like to thank Carlos Slim Jr, who has helped me since I was 14 years old, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“Our journey together over the past eight years has been an incredible one, and I’ll do everything in my power to deliver with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes the results that he and I have been working so hard and so long to achieve together.
“As I say, I’ve worked very hard to get to this stage in my career, and I’m now massively looking forward to this next even more exciting stage. It’s fantastic that all the sacrifices I’ve made are now paying off.
“For example, I remember very clearly the first day I left my family, when I was 15, to live in Germany to race in Formula BMW. It was tough for me – I was sleeping in a restaurant at that time – but the dream of one day becoming a Formula 1 driver kept me going through those difficult days.
“Finally, I’d like to thank my beloved family, who’ve encouraged me at every turn, and last but far from least the people of Mexico, my home country, whose magnificent support I’ll do my very best to reward with future successes with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.”
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “On behalf of everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, I?óÔé¼Ôäóm delighted to welcome Sergio on board. His performances throughout 2012 have convinced us that he’s an extremely exciting prospect for the future.
“It was a string of giant-killing performances, a trio of podiums and a brilliant fastest lap in this year?óÔé¼Ôäós Monaco Grand Prix that showed us that Sergio lacks nothing in terms of speed and commitment.
“We’ve been monitoring his progress carefully for some months – and, now that he’s become part of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, our task will be to refine and develop his abilities as his career progresses over the coming years.
“Uniting Sergio alongside Jenson will give us a very broad base of driver ability. Jenson is one of motorsport?óÔé¼Ôäós greatest ambassadors, and his unique blend of prodigious speed and canny race-craft makes him formidably well-armed to fight for victory on any Grand Prix circuit in the world. While Sergio is still developing his palette of skills, we’re convinced that he’s not only talented and quick, but also that he’s willing and eager to learn.”
“He’s perfectly poised to develop into a world championship challenger. His addition to the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team provides us with the perfect two-pronged driver line-up for the new season.”
Whitmarsh also paid tribute to his outgoing driver: “Finally, it’s entirely appropriate that I should take this opportunity to pass on our thanks to Lewis. He wrote a huge chapter of his life and career with us, and was, and always will be, a fine member of an exclusive club: the McLaren world champions’ club.
“It goes without saying that we all wish him well for the future, just as it also goes without saying that we hope and believe that Sergio, too, will become a member of that exclusive club before too long.”
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