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. Cristian (@cristian) said on 28th September 2012, 9:29

    I think we’ll see gutierrez at sauber.
    As for McLaren, I always thought they have a nice mix with Hamilton and Button, two drivers with very different styles. Now they’ll have two drivers with more similar styles.. Let’s see how it will work out.

    • Yeah would be interesting to see Esteban in the Sauber. I’m not sure. He’s not really too ‘inexperienced’ in the sense that he’s been with Sauber for 2 years now. But I’m still not convinced. He could be good enough but he still had a real rookie feel about him in GP2 this year. I feel he might need one more year.

      I’d go for Jaime if I were Sauber.

      However Sauber do tend to be game on taking risks on young rookies, so it’s certainly feasible Gutierrez could get it.

    • Estesark (@estesark) said on 28th September 2012, 11:17

      Having two drivers with similar styles means they might be off the pace completely at some weekends, but it can be looked at from a positive angle as well: they’ll be able to develop a car that plays to the strengths of Button and Pérez simultaneously, rather than having to compromise one for the other.

      • Yeah it’ll be strong overall, but they’re gonna suffer in Qualifying without a doubt.

        • panache (@panache) said on 28th September 2012, 23:31

          Will they suffer in Qualifying though?

          No doubt Perez will be getting paid much less than Hamilton would per year and in addition Perez probably brings a heck of a lot of money to Mclaren through his sponsors.

          If I were Mclaren, I would reinvest a substantial amount of the difference in cash flow into extra development of the car and attempt to claw back if not surpass the 2-3 tenths average qualifying defecit that Button had to Hamilton by improving the fundamental pace of the car.

          • Oh yeah they can certainly build a good enough car to dominate and defeat the problem, but all things equal they’ll likely struggle.

            It is clear that on average, over a season, Hamilton would be able to consistently qualify a few tenths and a few places higher in the same car then Button or Perez likely could.

  2. I’ll miss Perez being at Sauber as he and Kobayashi together was my favourite line up by far on the current grid.

    I really don’t know how Perez will fare at McLaren, he’s been strong but inconsistent this year. Hopefully he’ll win a few races next year.

  3. Kimi4WDC said on 28th September 2012, 9:30

    After Alonso fails to win WDC this year, it’s gonna hurt watching Sergio win races next year. Ferrari karma right back at ya.

  4. Adam B (@lurker) said on 28th September 2012, 9:31


    I think you might be right. Alguersuari has been talking about a race seat for next year. The question becomes who will take Massa’s seat at Ferrari?

    I’d love for it to be Schumacher. But somehow I doubt that team could survive both Alonso and Schumacher in that team at the same time.

    I’m still holding out for Kobayashi. He’s quick enough on his day, but won’t be a threat to Alonso, and I believe he’s sensible enough to know he can still be a respected number 2.

    My gut says that Massa will be here for another year though, as he’s a known quantity, and Fernando likes having him around as he’s not a threat, and flatters Fernando’s talent (not that Fernando needs it. He’s brilliant).

  5. Picasso 1.9D FTW (@picasso-19d-ftw) said on 28th September 2012, 9:32

    Great news I think. Whether it’s a good move for Hamilton or not, who knows? Enough people thought it was unwise for Button to leave Brawn/Mercedes and head to McLaren, well perhaps it really is a fair time for HAM to take a punt on them. But most of that bores me: HAM has had a fair crack at a great team, has a champtionship, now I’m more interested in seeing what Checo can do with this opportunity. Two drivers that know how to look after their tyres, even if their driving styles are not the same, gives McLaren an interesting opportunity for next year to design a car that plays to that. Perez is a tremendously exciting driver, and hopefully he can keep his good nature too. Great line-up Macca!

  6. Jamie Carter said on 28th September 2012, 9:33

    I’m really happy we got Perez now, the guys going to be a future champion some day. It’s the same scenario and gamble Red Bull took a few years back with Sebastian Vettel who at the time was at Toro Rosso and it paid off. I’m really sad to see Lewis leave as a Mclaren fan, but im sure with JB in the team and Checo joining, its a win-win situation for Mclaren now. Checo can really learn off Jenson and hopefully this is the start of a very successful partnership.

  7. Tony M (@tango11) said on 28th September 2012, 9:34

    Feel a bit sad that it has come to this, but I think it was outrageous of McLaren to try to cut Hamilton’s wages.

    I can not imagine any other sport where the where one of the best well financed teams in the world threatens to cut the wages of one of their best ‘players’ when they are at the top of their game.

    I don’t think McLaren would have got themselves into this position if they had not threatened to cut Hamiltons wages, and I think they realised their mistake and upped their offer while watching Hamilton thoroughly outperform Button over the past few races, but by that time Merc had a foot in the door and the damage had been done by McLaren.

    Good luck to Lewis, Perez, Merc and McLaren.

  8. Himmat said on 28th September 2012, 9:35

    I feel sad. I have been a McLaren fan (I’m a team supporter, not driver) ever since I started watching Formula 1 in 2003. Hamilton…I don’t know what to say. Was he greedy? Did he fight with Ron Dennis? We will never know.

    As of Perez, I think he was the best choice McLaren had besides Kimi and Michael. I am still holding out for Michael to remain at Mercedes and hope Rosberg is the one who gets shown the door instead.

    Perez, as Keith highlighted, lacks single lap pace. So does Button. But the both of them are arguably two of the most kindest drivers on their tyres (Button less so this year).

  9. Aldoid said on 28th September 2012, 9:38

    There’s no denying McLaren are a competitive team, but one only has to look at their terrible history of driver management, as well as the depth of talent that has walked away from them in recent years, never to return (Kimi, Alonso, Newey… before then even the likes of Senna up & left) to see that fundamentally, there’s a lot wrong with the way team McLaren operates. A lot of talk about Hamilton’s loyalty (or lack thereof) but McLaren cost him the championship in his rookie year (keeping him out battling with Kimi until his tires went bye bye) & they did it again this year with botched pit stops & other assorted errors. Hamilton’s not been a perfect driver, mind you, but IMO I’d say he’s been loyal enough. I wish him all the best @ Mercedes.

    • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 28th September 2012, 9:56

      There’s only one man to blame for that!

    • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 28th September 2012, 11:44

      Very good assesment of McLaren, they seem destined to always be F1’s 2nd best team, with Ferrari, RedBull, Renault, Brawn, etc. always managing to edge them out for the WCC. Something they have not won since 1998, as far as WDC they only have Lewis in 08 and Hakkinen in 98, 99 for recent history.

      There is no other way to look at that other than as a disappointment. For a team that has had Hakkinen, Raikkonen, Montoya, Coulthard, Alonso, Hamilton and Button over the past decade, they should have more wins and a couple more titles.

  10. So it’s all clear now.

    Ferrari – Alonso / Massa
    McLaren – Button / Perez
    Red Bull – Vettel Webber
    Mercedes – Hamilton / Rosberg
    Lotus – Raikkonen / Grosjean
    Williams – Maldonado / Bottas

    With Force India and Torro Rosso probably set with their current drivers I guess the only interesting thing now is who will drive for Sauber and maybe who will Caterham get since they’re likely to lose both their drivers…

    Still, can’t wait to see Perez in a potential championship challenger of a car and INSANELY good to finally see some shuffles on the grid. Bring on 2013!!!

  11. tandrews (@tomand95) said on 28th September 2012, 9:43

    So this most likely means that Massa will keep his seat next year, until Vettel supposedly moves there in 2014. I also think Webber will retire after next season, which means Red Bull might have 2 open seats. Knowing their faith in the young driver program I wouldn’t be surprised if they promoted both Ricciardo and Vergne, unless they have a shocking 2013.
    At least this move will freshen things up and the top teams won’t have the same drivers for 4 years straight. It will also be great to see what Lewis can do with a merc, depending on whether it is fast or not.

  12. TheNikii (@thenikii) said on 28th September 2012, 9:46

    I thought all the rumours were bullocks, but if McLaren thinks that it’s for the better good then it must be so. And Perez&Button seems like a great pairing. But then I feel sorry for Schumi. Although I hate the guy, it would have been nice to see him win for one last time. Of course he’s still got six chances to do that, but I wouldn’t put my money on that.

  13. zaakir (@zaakir) said on 28th September 2012, 9:51

    Lewis was stupid to go for money and i’m glad that mclaren signed perez instead of anyone else.
    Lewis won’t win the championship this year.

  14. dirgegirl (@dirgegirl) said on 28th September 2012, 9:54

    This is great news! Now I can’t wait for next year!

    Only concern is that McLaren now have two tyre managers… I am a massive Buttonbooster but I think Checo may just outsmooth the arch smoothie.

    I am glad to see MSC go – he’s had his second chance and made nothing of it, and there are plenty of young drivers who deserve a first chance.

    And the team dynamics at Mercedes will be very, very interesting. Poor Rosberg – definitely a number 2 now.

  15. magon4 (@magon4) said on 28th September 2012, 9:54

    I know this is impossible, but I would love to see Schumacher / Alonso for 2013, a one-year contract for the German who is still hungry. I think MSC can do better than MAS, and a one-year deal could still keep the Vettel option open.

    Hoping for Hülkenberg to Ferrari. And that Sauber seat will be a very good one for a talented driver.

    • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 28th September 2012, 11:48

      The only way I would enjoy seeing Schumacher return to Ferrari would be if he completely and utterly destroyed Alonso next season.

      Otherwise, let’s leave Ferrari’s greatest driver alone and let the pretender to his throne keep on trying.

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