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

  1. I am shocked, i think that Lewis may have made the worst carreer decision yet!

  2. AndrewMansell (@andrewmansell) said on 28th September 2012, 9:13

    GREAT NEWS. It was time for Schumi to leave, and this is a great oportunitie to the best driver in the grid that has not win a championship. I’ll bet Perez will be champion more than once!. I think Hamilton like a Manselll of these tiimes, he deserves more, but I think he will have only one championship.

  3. marcusbreese (@marcusbreese) said on 28th September 2012, 9:13

    Thrilled for Perez. I remember meeting him in Australia this year, and telling him “I hoped he’d get a Podium or two”. Boy has he exceeded that.

    Will be VERY interesting to see how Hamilton gets on at Mercedes, will he look very smart or very greedy come 2014? Imagine if Checo beats him in the 2013 WDC.

    • chaplinez said on 28th September 2012, 11:46

      That’s exactly what’s on my mind.If Perez wins the WDC in 2013.That will surely be a big blow for Lewis.

  4. Hamilton, in my opinion, has made a bad decision there. Perez will be laughing all the way to the top step of the podium. Good luck to him!

  5. nickfrog (@nickfrog) said on 28th September 2012, 9:15

    Brilliant. McLaren have effectively called Ham’s bluff. And Ham has been scammed by his agent who prefers the short term commissions and don’t care about Ham’s long term career. What it does show is that, for all his obvious qualities, Ham is not the sharpest tool in the box, which clearly is the difference between talented drivers and talented drivers with 3/4 WDC to their names. I doubt Ham will win more than 2 at best.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th September 2012, 9:20

      @nickfrog

      McLaren have effectively called Ham’s bluff.

      Most likely Hamilton’s deal has already been done.

    • Michael Schumacher did basically the same thing as Lewis in 1996, and look out how that turned out. Don’t you think its a bit early to start bashing Hamilton, he hasn’t even turned a wheel in anger yet!

      • Girts (@girts) said on 28th September 2012, 9:42

        @debaser91 Exactly. And, as Adam Cooper said on Twitter, it’s not as if Hamilton has joined HRT.

      • ferrari always challenged for wins , despite what f1 reporters or people who never watched f1 then will tell you.

        • Don’t be patronising, I know a fair bit about the sports history thank you very much. More than you it seems otherwise you would know that from 1991-1995 before Schumacher joined, Ferrari were in a right state. The facts are that during those five years they won two races. Two. I would maybe even argue Mercedes are in better shape now than Ferrari were back then, they certainly have the right people assembled to make a competitive car, the only trouble being it is a lot more competitive nowadays at the top. Ross Brawn however is someone who knows what he is doing, I would not be surprised in the slightest if Mercedes had a quick car straight out of the box in 2014, or even next year.

          • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 28th September 2012, 11:07

            You are forgetting the key ingredient; Lewis Hamilton is no Michael Schumacher. Lewis is good no doubt, great even. He has some of the best one lap pace and some of the greatest overtaking skills ever seen, but I don’t think he has the sheer strength of will, of character, nor the dedication and outright commitment that made Schumi so successful.

          • but it’s true that Ferrari even challenges for win. They had management problem in 80′s and 90′ following the Villeneuve-Pironi pair, the english combination Barnard Mansell did not work, Prost was a containder one year and after that The Alesi-Berger fired by Jean Todt who rebuilt the team. Everybody knew that it will happen sooener or later. Mercedes can be forever a midfield car with some high, like BMW or Toyota or Renault, and retires after a while, we don’t know. Many people talk about 2014, but i do not understand why, why the situation will change ? The car is about aerodynamics, and everybody has the same engine (Renault, Mercedes, Ferrari). Only Ferrari has always be better than other teams equipped with the same engine. Why McLaren with the 2014 engine will be slower than Mercedes ?

  6. pejte (@pejte) said on 28th September 2012, 9:16

    Hope he will kick some Ferrari **** next season, to the dismay of Montezemolo :)

  7. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 28th September 2012, 9:16

    So Hamilton won’t have his entire F1 career at one team after all… and what’s the most races anyone’s had at a team from the start of a career?

    • alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 28th September 2012, 9:20

      Because obviously Schumacher’s 11 years at Ferrari is one of the longest stints at a team in general (after a few years at Jordan and Benetton), so he can’t take that one, but has anyone been at a team for more than 6 years from the start of their career?

      • JJLehtOo said on 28th September 2012, 9:29

        I’m 99% sure that Hamilton holds the record for length of time spent with initial team in f1..

        By the way this is excellent news!! Now Schumacher just needs to take Massa’s or Grosejeans seat and then I’ll be ecstatic!

        • Himmat said on 28th September 2012, 9:43

          Heck yea, we still don’t know about Schumacher. There is still chance he will remain at Mercedes. Otherwise, Ferrari and Lotus sound like good proposition. As much as I hated him in his previous incarnation, I badly want him to win a few races (and maybe the WDC) for the sake of fairy tales.

        • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 28th September 2012, 9:51

          Peter Sauber has apparently stated he would welcome MSC with open arms

        • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 28th September 2012, 11:19

          I don’t want to see Schumi boot out Massa and then be forced to play second fiddle to Alonso. It would be a sad day in F1 when the driver who brought Ferrari its brightest glory found himself subservient to someone who is merely attempting to copy that magic formula and thus far to a less successful degree.

          Alonso has been with Ferrari for 52 races now and has 9 wins with the team. That sounds impressive until you count that by Schumacher’s 52nd race with Ferrari he had notched up 15.

          Now…Schumacher partnered up with Kimi at Lotus, that would be something to see!!!!!!

      • Girts (@girts) said on 28th September 2012, 9:29

        @alexf1man I guess that record now will go back to Jim Clark, who spent all of his career with Lotus, 9 years and 72 starts, that is.

  8. gavmaclean (@gavmaclean) said on 28th September 2012, 9:17

    I’m one of those idiots that said JB was the worst driver to win a championship back in 2009. Now look at him, team leader of McLaren. Way to go lad.

    • Mclaren now have the poorest team leader in as long as I can remember.

      • gavmaclean (@gavmaclean) said on 28th September 2012, 12:03

        Have to disagree. My opinion of Button has changed so much in recent years with Button being a class act last year or so. He may not be one of these “top 3″ everyone goes on about but he’s proved he can win with the best car and sneak a win in wet conditions over the last few years – which is essentially the two qualities that Vettel built his reputation on. That’s enough to win another title anyway.
        McLaren have probably been quite keen on building a team round him anyway since he seems a far more reliable and mature chap recently. If Perez turns out to be the real deal, McLaren are in a good place.

        • I think you’re overlooking the fact that Jenson cannot win races, or even come close to maximising a car’s potential when the car isn’t perfect. Just look at his performances from Spain up until Germany this year. He didn’t look like a driver worthy of driving for a top notch team… and it’s not the 1st time this has happened in his career either. This is going to be a recurring problem at Mclaren, where all he will constantly be looking for that elusive ‘balance’ and ‘grip’.

          Jenson is definitely mature and very marketable, but he lacks the consistency and skill to cut it with the top 3 drivers on the grid.

          Sergio might be the guy to take Mclaren forward, but we’ll have to wait until next year to know for sure

  9. melkurion (@melkurion) said on 28th September 2012, 9:17

    Awesome news ! :D Now all we need to know who’s in the second ferrari seat! Hope it’s one of the Force India drivers, and we’ll see a great lineup for next year! There’s also rumors going around that Schumacher is going to Sauber, possibly alongside Heikki….

  10. magon4 (@magon4) said on 28th September 2012, 9:19

    Lewis will wait for 2014 (get adjusted to team and help develop a top car for the new regulations). I kind of hope Nick Heidfeld gives him a tough job.

    Sergio Perez will be able to prove himself. This might end Button’s career, if he doesn’t beat the mexican.

  11. KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 28th September 2012, 9:20

    This is quite possibly the biggest F1 driver shake-up since Schumi retired in 2006.. I’m intrigued as to how quickly Perez can get into a groove at Mclaren, when Mclaren are logically going to be centered more towards Button (at least for 2013).. All that needs resolving now is the Massa seat, which will almost certainly stay with Massa now Perez is spoken for, and Perez’s empty Sauber seat.. Schumacher to Sauber?

  12. Well obviously that confirms Hamilton to Mercedes, presumably replacing Schumacher.

    But ironically and sadly this could be the death knell even more notably for Massa. Felipe’s 2013 chances were entirely based on Ferrari’s ‘kill time and waste another year until taking Sergio for 2014′ policy.

    Now that’s all changed, their entire long term plans are ruined. So could we see Di Resta or Hulkenberg or someone long term for the future in a Ferrari next year?

    I would doubt it considering that they’re as equally inexperienced as Perez. So MAYBE Felipe will get away with another year still before the 2014 plan comes into action.

    Question is what the 2014 plan is, one of those young drivers, or Vettel?

    You’d think Vettel intuitively, that they’d only ever be hanging onto Massa for 2013 in order to set Vettel up for 2014, but I’m not convinced Fernando would want such a threat as team-mate. Two No.1′s is not the Ferrari style.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 28th September 2012, 9:40

      Two No.1′s is not the Ferrari style.

      @hosford90 I agree but I guess that conisderations about future is what matters more for Ferrari here. They probably want to avoid the repeat of 2007 when they had two very good drivers after the Schumacher’s departure but no real superstar, no perfect team leader. Alonso is not immortal, he might want to end his career or move elsewhere someday and Ferrari know all that. They might have preferred to wait until hiring a driver of Vettel’s calibre but you have to take the superstars when they are available, which could be the case here.

      • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 28th September 2012, 11:26

        I actually much preferred the Ferrari of 2007-2009 where they didn’t have a clear team leader. It netted them 2 WCC, a WDC for Kimi and it should have earned them a WDC for Massa, and nearly did. Contrast that with 0 Championships since then.

        Alonso is good, he’s the best in the field nowadays and everyone knows it, but he’s not better than 1996-2004 era Michael Schumacher.

      • I agree, that’s what I’d do. But there are no superstars available are there? Only Di Resta and Hulkenberg and co.

        And more to the point, Perez is as close to a superstar as they’d have been able to find, and they weren’t hiring him..

  13. Malibu_GP said on 28th September 2012, 9:22

    Wow…, it is indeed a finality! Congratulations to Checo and Bravo to LH. Way to show em what You’re made of. I predict prosperous futures for both these exciting new pairings. I’m from Southern California, so Serg is almost a hometown Boy. And My admiration for Lewis (faults and all) is well known around here. Gonna be fun to see the events unfold next season. I knew LH was gone the moment I heard him thank the team after Monza. These announcements were merely formalities.

  14. Oskar (@oskar) said on 28th September 2012, 9:23

    now Alguersuari to Sauber!

  15. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 28th September 2012, 9:24

    I’ll miss you, Checo. I hope you’ll be fighting for wins and the WDC next season because I’ll be very happy for you if you are!

    Also, lol Ferrari.

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