Perez takes Hamilton’s place at McLaren for 2013

2013 F1 season

Sergio Perez, Sauber, 2012Sergio 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?m 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 ?ǣ I was brought up on the great stories of Ayrton Senna’s many world championship triumphs for McLaren ?ǣ 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.”

“Giant-killing performances”

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “On behalf of everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, I?m 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?s 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?s 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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247 comments on Perez takes Hamilton’s place at McLaren for 2013

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  1. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 28th September 2012, 8:58

    Perez gets the chance of his life. Time to deliver, Sergio.

    • Oh, isnt he cute, he just signed, but he already uses the word massively in the most unexpected places. good for him.

      • Girts (@girts) said on 28th September 2012, 9:53

        isnt he cute

        He undoubtedly is.

      • Tango (@tango) said on 28th September 2012, 9:59

        Hilarious !

        • You know what would be great, Schumacher driving for Sauber, and instead Sauber paying Schumacher, he should invest 50 million a year for the development of the car. That Sauber car is amazing this year and when everything is focussed on Schumacher he can still perform. People seem to have forgot that he is currently ahead in qualifying: schumacher 9 – rosberg 7 and his performance in a couple of races has been quite good. We don’t want Schumacher to leave, it’s normal that he isn’t as good as before, but he isn’t as bad as some believe.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th September 2012, 9:13

      Perez is the only winner of Driver of the Weekend this year not to have scored a race win – and he’s topped the poll twice:

      Second Driver of the Weekend win for Perez at Monza

      He also won Driver of the Weekend for his first ever F1 race:

      Who was the best driver of the Australian Grand Prix weekend?

      Good choices by F1 Fanatic readers, it seems!

      • i think its an exciting news for all f1 fans… Seeing Ham in Mclaren for 5 yrs now has been a bit boring to be honest..Also all the great drivers in F1 has switched to different teams and proved their worth by winning championships with them.. I think winning with more than one team adds more credibility to a drivers talents and makes him a great one..Kudos to Hamilton for making a bold move..Though its a one in which there is a risk of Ham not winning from the start, i think its a risk worth taking

        • Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 28th September 2012, 10:55

          + 1Million

        • TonyZZZBZ said on 28th September 2012, 13:56

          It will be hard for him to win from the start.. but I think eventually he will win next year.. We’ve seen him qualify half a second clear of everybody this year so it should be a problem for his first win to arrive…
          I also wish success to him so it shows to the general public that drivers actually make a difference!

        • Agreed. For me, next season just got very fascinating.

          Can Lewis still be a qualifying maestro in a car unlikely to be a top performer?

      • @keithcollantine

        Martin Whitmarsh probably noticed his driver of the weekend awards. :P

    • Best wishes for Perez.. Not many drivers get to drive for a top team very early in their career..Perez certainly deserves the mclaren drive and Ferrari i think are the big losers here unless they have vettel planned for 2014

    • Now, Massa to Sauber. Di Resta/Hulkenberg to Ferrari. Alguersuari to Force India. PLEASE!

      Changes to the driver market are so important to us fans. It gives us our only real chance to gauge the relative talents of the drivers. I’m a big Di Resta fan but if he doesn’t get the Ferrari drive I really hope Hulkenberg gets it because that way we’ll at least get to see Di Resta up against a new opponent (who he’ll hopefully wipe the floor with!) and we’ll also get to see how someone who he’s outpaced does in a top team.

      • Estesark (@estesark) said on 28th September 2012, 11:25

        Changes to the driver market are so important to us fans. It gives us our only real chance to gauge the relative talents of the drivers.

        Well said. It’s for that reason that I’m excited about these changes, even though I’m disappointed to see the end of the Hamilton-McLaren partnership. After the huge excitement of its first two years, I expected a lot more from it, and I’m surprised that Hamilton is leaving the team with only the one championship to his name. It seems unlikely now that he will win it again this year; rather than having everyone in the team working for him, they are now more likely to shift their attention to 2013.

    • This is the greatest news I have heard all year! Perez for WDC in 2013 (provided McLaren give him a good enough car)!!!

  2. Maverick232 said on 28th September 2012, 9:01

    Wow! Shocked. I don’t think we know the whole story??

  3. F1Underground (@realf1underground) said on 28th September 2012, 9:01

    RIP Lewis Hamilton’s F1 Career :/

    • Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 28th September 2012, 9:08

      If the dream team at Mercedes don’t come through Lewis is going to look very greedy and foolish.

      • F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 28th September 2012, 9:31

        i think he already does

        • JCost (@jcost) said on 28th September 2012, 9:37

          Foolish at least. However he’s used to bad adjectives… arrogant, petulant, childish, stupid, aggressive

          Disclaimer: I don’t think it’s wrong to make career decisions based on money. But I disapprove when money is the only factor which should not be the case.

          • JK (@justingt5) said on 28th September 2012, 9:50

            I dont think money was the Only Factor, McLaren wouldnt let him keep any of his trophies, plus he gets on very well with ex team mate Rosberg and is adored by Norbert Haug. I can see many reasons aswell as the money for the move. Not sure how the Reebok tie in on Lewis’ side is going to gel with the current Puma deal with Mercedes??

          • @justingt5 I don’t think it’s all about money either. Haug’s presence certainly played a part. Plus, I don’t think Hamilton is either arrogant or childish.

          • sorin (@) said on 28th September 2012, 12:23

            @spawinte, foolish? Why? Because the team won’t destroy his races again? Did you count how many times Mclaren destroied his races, this year? If Ross Brawn will remain at Mercedes, I think Hamilton choosed the best available team. I am a Raikkonen fan and I remember how much a race destroyer, for his pilots, Mclaren is. This year was a deja-vu.

          • @sorin

            Oh yeah, I forgot that the entirety of the Mclaren team works year in year out to destroy the drivers races that they signed for millions of dollars.

            /end sarcasm/

            Sorry, but really? How can you type that?

          • sorin (@) said on 28th September 2012, 21:15

            @mike
            Sorry, but, this is my conclusion. How is possible to have such a poor reliability for so many years, when you are investing so much. Ok, Mclaren is fast, but too much DNF’s and problems. They should have more than one championships(only Hamilton), from Hakkinen to present. They had fast drivers, fast cars…and one championship. I tried to be a Mclaren fan, but I never succeded.

        • To be honest, I think that is exactly what many said and wrote when Schumi announced moving to Ferrari for ’96, and we all know how that one turned out.

    • nackavich (@nackavich) said on 28th September 2012, 9:55

      @realf1underground
      I wouldn’t say that just yet. Look at Schumi’s move to Ferrari in ’96. Besides having Schu and Rosberg developing the car for next year will help, along with the Haug/Brawn duo. Who says they won’t have a killer car next year? Williams were written off at the start of this year and they’ve won a race, and Ferrari’s car wasnt up to standard in Melbourne. Who knows what Merc have in the bag?

      • ” wouldn’t say that just yet. Look at Schumi’s move to Ferrari in ’96.”

        Not just that, Alonso moved to Mclaren on the back of winning double titles with Renault, then moved to a very uncompetitive Renault after Mclaren.

        Alonso written off 2008-2010 until a seat became available at his dream team Ferrari (where he still didnt win for 2 + years)

        Im sure Hamiltons eyes are on the long-term, not the money.

    • Many said the same thing when Alonso left McLaren.

  4. Girts (@girts) said on 28th September 2012, 9:02

    A sensible choice by McLaren and I’m sure this is another indication that we’ll see Vettel at Ferrari in 2014. If Perez is mature enough for a Hamilton-less McLaren, he cannot be too immature for a Ferrari, there’s another reason why Ferrari didn’t want him.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 28th September 2012, 9:11

      Telegraph says Lewis will sign a 3 years contract with Mercedes, I guess his representatives are eyeing Ferrari just in case Mercedes doesn’t work out…

    • Nico4Mclaren said on 28th September 2012, 12:44

      Hate to take anything away from Perez, but I’m surprised nobody’s, including @grits, did not factor in the ‘Carlos Slim’ factor here.

      Mclaren dont have a title sponsor for next year. And guess what business Carlos Slim has major money invested in – Telecom!! The same portfolio as Vodafone!

      So, despite my personal opinion being that Nico Hulkenberg is so much more a mature driver with being fast, as is di Resta, Perez seems to have tipped the equation in his favor by being impressive, many times immature, but importantly also with a Sugar Daddy.

      Again, nothing to take away from Perez, but based on a pure-performance perspective, the Force India driver are a better talent, IMO!

      • Hmm, I’d say this is true to an extent.

        He has almost won two races this year on merit alone.
        Neither of the Force India’s have shown anything like that performance, and I’m a Nico fan.

        You have to respect Nico for going without big backers, but Perez has earned it.

      • Nickpkr said on 28th September 2012, 19:05

        Yeah right a paid driver ? Sour grapes !!!

  5. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 28th September 2012, 9:02

    Congratulations to Checo, looking forward to seeing him beating the Ferraris, and I’m pleased this was the first announcement.

    It’ll probably need a piece by Mark Hughes or Peter Windsor, but I wonder if Perez and Button’s driving styles complement each other when it comes to developing and setting up a car? It’ll surely be an improvement over the first part of this year when JB looked lost.

  6. Ferrari really dropped the ball on this one. But its ok, maybe they can bang on about 3 cars teams a bit more in the hope that no-one will notice.

    Anyway, Nice one Sergio! World Champion next year?

    • World Champion next year?

      Doubt such an easy-going, joyful person like Sergio would fit in such a rigid place like McLaren. Just imagine him tricking his McLaren race engineer like he did at Sauber. I expect him to soon join the exclusive “I found happiness after leaving McLaren” Club along with Coulthard, Kimi, Alonso and now Lewis.

  7. NOOK360 said on 28th September 2012, 9:03

    Fantastic!

  8. Eggry (@eggry) said on 28th September 2012, 9:03

    Interesting. I thought this announcement would be out after Hamilton-Mercedes announcement. It seems Mclaren decided to move actively.

    As for Perez, best wishes for him. I know he has talent but Mclaren is not easy task for everybody. We will see he can deliver or break.

    As for Hamilton, I think this is great move for himself and the sport. There was demand foe some shuffle and Hamilton did it. Also for himself, he can establish his own team even though he might not be able to win as many as when he was in Mclaren.

    Good news.

  9. pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 28th September 2012, 9:05

    At least we get some fresh excitement in the driver line up for 2013. Although it pains me that Eddie Jordan was the original source of this ‘rumour’ going public (Lewis to Merc). We’ll never hear the end of it.
    I think Lewis is the greatest but I would love nothing more than for Perez, a great and very likeable driver, to become WDC in 2013. Suck on that Montezemelo!

  10. Aldoid said on 28th September 2012, 9:06

    It’ll be fun to watch him outpace Jenson. Sergio does appear to be the quicker driver, seems kind to his tires & can only get better with experience IMO.

  11. DavidS (@davids) said on 28th September 2012, 9:07

    Great news for Perez.
    Not so for Hamilton, I think the move to Mercedes will be a backwards step, as Mercedes hasn’t really been able to provide a top level car for the past couple of years.
    Also, does that mean Schumacher won’t be driving next year?

    • Schumacher currently doesn’t have a drive. There is obviously now a seat at sauber, and possibly a seat at Ferrari (although he wouldn’t go back there with Alonso surely?!) and possibly more, depending on the rest of the driver changes. If he can’t grab one of those seats then no, he will not be driving next year.

      • ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 28th September 2012, 12:00

        I could definitely see him going to either Sauber or Ferrari to ‘return the favour’, respectively.

        At Ferrari, I rekon he’d happilly play second fiddle to Fernando, a guy he seems to respect (and vice-versa). Plus, it’d be a great ‘thank you’ for the treatment he got during his 5 World Championship wins, as well as creating a wave of excitement through the Tifosi. Then you think about the money it’d generate… Also, I rekon Schumacher would quite fancy driving a Ferrari again over the hit-and-miss nature of the Mercedes. They at least seem to be there or there abouts.

        Then you look at Sauber. Peter Sauber gave Schumacher his break in sportscars, which eventually lead him to Formula One. It’d be another good opportunity to say thank you, and drive a car that’s arguably more competitive than the one he drives this season.

        Ball’s in Schumacher’s court, from where i’m standing.

  12. Roald (@roald) said on 28th September 2012, 9:08

    Great news, both for Perez and Hamilton. The latter can really build the team around him like Alonso did Ferrari, with all the people currently under contract at Mercedes they must be able to build a race-winning car. It’s a bit odd they brought this news out before Hamilton announced his move though, but I guess McLaren want to seem confident. Really, really excited about this news!

    • why is it odd, its sensible and obvious. Lewis has tried to out do his team last few years…it wasnt going to happen this time.

      they did the same in 06. they announced kimi going before ferrari announced he was going there

    • The latter can really build the team around him like Alonso did Ferrari

      After Alonso’s exit he had all the time in the world to “fold” McLaren around him. I don’t understand why didn’t he do that. He somehow managed to do so in 2008 and 2009 but since Button arrived it all went wrong for him. I suspect Martin Withmarsh was too fervourous to show the world that McLaren wasn’t Lewis’ team after he signed Button and that made Ham feel betrayed. I understand why Lewis turned his back at them – it must be pretty offending to be put at the same level to such an ‘understeering’ driver like Button.

      • Klass, i do agree with you entirely and postes a similar blog last week !, and got poo pood, by some !its all a shame but i feel that lewis was frozen out, [given the cold shoulder] as they say. and he said “up yours guys i:me off “or similar, they went too far and he lewis called their bluff, top man !!

  13. Roald (@roald) said on 28th September 2012, 9:09

    Can’t believe Ferrari allowed this to happen though, I can’t imagine anyone sane favouring Massa over Perez. Come on now.

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 28th September 2012, 9:24

      Actually it can be quite reasonable favoring Massa. Might not so pure motivation though.

    • All the rumours suggest Ferrari want Vettel for 2014 alongside Alonso. Bearing that in mind it makes sense to keep Massa or a slower driver alongside Alonso for 2013, rather than somone like Perez who would presumably want equal treatment, and a multi year deal.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 28th September 2012, 9:33

      @roald
      Actually Ferrari favouring Massa over Perez, looking at how their team is structured around Alonso, is a compliment to Perez and a “average driver” certificate to Massa.
      Ferrari wants a number two driver who doesn’t challenge Alonso and would be okay with his supporting role. Sergio Perez would not fit their requirements and their structure would suffer and eventually bring out the worst of Alonso personality again, they believe they can win this way so why risk bust their “happy bubble?”.
      In 2017 Perez will be a established driver and eventually with one or two WDC to his name, ready to join Ferrari pairing with retirement-bound Fernando Alonso.

    • Ferrari know what they’re doing. If they weren’t having any prospects for 2014, they would have signed Perez themselves. Montezemolo knows something we don’t and I’m really starting to believe that pre-contract between Vettel and Ferrari regarding 2014 actually exists.

      Ferrari didn’t get Perez because with Vettel on route, they would have destroyed Checo’s career. And they don’t want that. They want him to replace Alonso when he’s through with it. :)

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 28th September 2012, 9:44

      The loyalty Ferrari continues to show to Massa still baffles me, despite his recent improvement in form. Most of the speculation is that this relates to getting Vettel in the car at some point, but I can’t believe that Ferrari can’t pick up another good driver on any term of contract they want – there aren’t that many drivers on the grid who wouldn’t take a punt on a one-year contract at Ferrari. They all believe themselves to be the best, and one year in a Ferrari should allow them to showcase their talent and pick up another good race seat thereafter.

      I wonder if their problem goes back to the Massa replacements drafted in back in 2009 which showed that some of the drivers we might considered pretty quick (Badoer and Fisi) could turn a race winning car into a backmarker. With Massa they have a known quantity which might not be WDC standard any more but until they are absolutely certain they have a top quality replacement (e.g. Vettel) they prefer to stick with him. We all assume that they need a better 2nd driver to fight for the constructors championship but maybe they know that the car isn’t deserving of the WCC. So their options are:

      (1) Keep Massa and focus on giving him and Alonso a better car to fight for WCC, also keeps Alonso happy and gives chance of WDC
      (2) Take a risk in replacing Massa with only a slightly improved chance of winning WCC but with the risk that the driver is actually slower than Massa and/or unsettles Alonso.

      • I think they can find a driver that is quicker than Massa without having to look too far. Right now Di Resta, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Kovalainen, Glock, Ricciardo and Kobayashi are all quicker than Massa.

        I think it would be stupid to let Felipe stay another year. A good number 2 driver is supposed to take points of rivals… something Felipe hasn’t been able to do.

        • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 28th September 2012, 11:01

          Bottas?! Seriously. So a guy who has never even started a grand prix is now arguably quicker than Massa?

          Massa may never again be the WDC contender he once was, but let’s at least give him a little respect!

          Lest we forget that he has still to this date won more races for Ferrari than Alonso has or Kimi managed to.

          • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 28th September 2012, 18:20

            Lest we forget that he has still to this date won more races for Ferrari than Alonso has or Kimi managed to.

            That’s something I never really thought about and quite an amazing fact given that Massa scored all of his Ferrari wins in his first three years at the team (2006-2008). Unless Fernando gets three race wins this year then Massa will have at least as good a record of race wins in his first three years in a Ferrari (even with Alonso’s gifted win in 2010).

      • Kelly (@kelly) said on 29th September 2012, 0:33

        I’m not entirely sure that loyalty is there for Massa at Ferrari. Ferrari were having talks with Webber earlier in the year. I think there will be a change at Ferrari next year. My mouth waters at the thought of Schumacher making a return to Ferrari but somehow I doubt it considering his less than stellar return to F1. I’d love to see Glock make the move to Ferrari also. I think if there is anything we can take from these driver moves is that it’ll be another RBR WCC title next year.

    • I still don’t understand all the rumours about Vettel moving to Ferrari in ’14 – when have Ferrari ever shown any interest in having two drivers compete for race wins, and if the trend continues who will be asked to move aside for the other? I don’t see Alonso/Vettel at Ferrari.

      • Yusha (@freebird78) said on 28th September 2012, 10:57

        +1. I don’t see that happening either. Ferrari will never have Vettel and Alonso at the same time. I can’t imagine seeing Vettel play second fiddle to Alonso. OR vice versa.

      • Villeneuve-Pironi maybe ? It ended baddly. Eveytime there is 2 number ones, it ends baddly (Hamilton-Alonso, Piquet-Mansell, Prost-Senna). Onley Button-Hamilton is working, but Button is not a true number 1. I do not see Vettel-Alonso, looks impossible. But i can see Alonso-Shumacher for one year, it would be the most fantastic things F1 can have, like a Lauda-Prost in theses days, the utlimate fight.

  14. zippyone (@zippyone) said on 28th September 2012, 9:10

    wow, we kind of expected this after all the rumours but now I’m shocked, didn’t really think Lewis would actually leave McLaren. This may be good for him.

  15. robk23 (@robk23) said on 28th September 2012, 9:10

    I can’t wait to see this, bring on 2013!

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