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. Bananas said on 28th September 2012, 9:55

    A bit gutted LH is leaving McLaren, especially now it looks like 2012 is over for him. Really wanted him to get the title this year and can’t say with any confidence 2013 at Mercedes looks good (who knows though). Great opportunity for Perez.

    Big question for me though is where does this leave Rosberg – reports are saying LH has undisputed number one status at Mercedes so if that’s true, I can’t help but feel a bit bad for Rosberg given he’s delivered Merc’s only race win. Having said that, without a dominant car (and even with one) LH is going to need a support driver from the off which he was clearly never going to get at McLaren.

  2. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 28th September 2012, 9:56

    Not surprised at all. Good luck for Sergio, McLaren seems to be the best place for hist talent to flourish. Also luck to Hamilton, because it’s a quite a gamble to move to Mercedes. This also means Massa most probably stays, and a total revamp might occur at Sauber. One Hamilton = so much fun on the transfer market.

  3. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 28th September 2012, 9:57

    i don’t like schumacher leaving the sport. despite his struggles (many not his own making) he still has the touch. the f1 field is closer than ever, and the team has let him down badly this year. love him or hate him, he’s the fangio of our era (maybe 2-3 eras) and he still has a win left in him, and as long as he does i want to see him fighting for #92. nothing could surpass that as a year in review highlight.

    • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 28th September 2012, 11:54

      I couldn’t agree more. Had Schumacher been in a Ferrari, McLaren these three seasons he would have won races, had he been in a RedBull, he just might have won an 8th WDC.

      Mercedes have failed to deliver ever since the mid point of the 2009 season when they were still Brawn GP. It doesn’t mean they will continue to be a second rate team, but Lewis has his work cut out for himself.

  4. bpacman (@bpacman) said on 28th September 2012, 9:57

    I hope Hamilton knows what he’s doing – if he’s not challenging for the victory in any given weekend, he looks annoyed and unhappy; god knows how he’ll cope if the car is uncompetitive over the course of a whole season.

    Paul Di Resta must be quite disappointed not to have landed himself the McLaren drive – although presumably his Mercedes connections count for little when McLaren are simply to become a Mercedes customer team.

    Also, is this a sign that Vodafone are about to pull out of sponsoring McLaren? It has been rumoured for a while now and presumably Carlos Slim’s Telmex / Telcel would happily take their place…?

  5. Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 28th September 2012, 9:58

    Poor Nico!

  6. With Hamilton going to Mercedes, the case for Button helping Hamilton in the last 6 races becomes a lot less viable, at least psychologically.

    Kind of difficult to envision a world champion helping another one become double WDC before latter is leaving for good, therefore not being able to offer anything in return any more.

  7. sato113 (@sato113) said on 28th September 2012, 10:03

    well done sergio. has hamilton got an eye on 2014?

  8. Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 28th September 2012, 10:10

    On the surface it looks like Ham has been sacked by McL because he hasnt made an official statement that he’s leaving. Yes, we all know that he’s going somewhere and McL don’t have a contract signed by Ham and whatever deal has been done but Their early statement is pure gold. He didn’t dump me, I dumped him. Genius McLaren.

  9. Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 28th September 2012, 10:11

    At the very least, McLaren will likely be able to tailor a car to both Button and Perez, with them both having that very smooth style, but is that a title-winning combination? Both are much better racers than qualifiers, but unless McLaren have a dominant car next season I don’t see either of them taking poles. Good luck to them, though. Button/Perez has to be about the most likeable driver combination in the paddock.

    A more pressing concern is who Sauber will get to replace their big talent. Gutierrez is in their set-up, but promoting him now would be one heck of a gamble, but who else is there, especially as their Mexican backing is at risk? Valsecci deserves a chance, but knowing Peter Sauber he could well draft in an experienced head like Nick Heidfield if Gutierrez isn’t ready.

    • Gaston (@golarrazabal) said on 28th September 2012, 10:48

      Kubica returning with Sauber next year would be nice, but realistically, it will not happen. I also think it’s highly unlikely that Schumacher would accept going to a midfield team, so he will just call it a day and retire again.

      Nevertheless, there’s plenty of talent around for Sauber to scoop. I think either Kovalainen or Glock would be very good at Sauber, and I imagine both would be looking forward to an upgrade after 3 years at the back of the grid. Glock/Kobayashi has a nice ring to it.

      If neither Heikki nor Glock can be had, I think Alguersuari might be a good option, too.

      More worrying than finding a good replacement, though, is the issue of financial backing now that Checo is leaving the team.

  10. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th September 2012, 10:15

    Awesome! I was hoping they’d take Perez, but I was sure (and afraid) they’d go for di Resta.

  11. Oh man I’m seriously starting to believe these Schumacher to Sauber rumours, which have massively intensified just now after this announcement.

    It would totally make sense in many ways, think about it:

    * There’s not a lot of likely movement anywhere else (considering Massa is going to keep his seat), so this would complete a triangle-shift between Perez, Hamilton and Schumacher and largely finalise the grid for next year.
    * Sauber (considering their relationship with Ferrari) would have expected to have Perez for another year, before Ferrari took him for 2014. Their long term plan was likely to groom Gutierrez over 3 years of GP2 to take the seat in 2014.
    * McLaren have now thrown this plan off, forcing their hand a year early. It is likely they may be unwilling to throw Gutierrez in the deep end a year early. I personally don’t think he’s ready.
    * Schumacher may not be able to win in your car anymore, but he can still develop it better than anyone. He retains amazing data and setup skills.
    * Sauber are notorious for starting strong every season then tailing off because of their lack of resources. Schumacher would bring much-needed development expertise.
    * Peter Sauber and Michael go back 25 years to sportscar days and are good mates.
    * Schumacher has no other option, Sauber will be his only offer. If he decides he’s not ready to retire he will have no choice but to take this (even if it means a substantial pay cut, solving the only real sticking point to this theory: Sauber’s lack of money). It’s Sauber or retirement for Michael.

    Summary of likely events: Esteban gets another year to develop in GP2. Michael signs for Sauber on a 1 year deal (he will be 44 next year after all), then uses his skills and knowledge to develop the car into a real force, then Kobayashi and Gutierrez have quality data and a strong car to play with for 2014.

  12. Gaston (@golarrazabal) said on 28th September 2012, 10:28

    Now let’s have Kubica to Sauber, can we? :)

  13. Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 28th September 2012, 10:36

    Perez is perfect for Whitmarsh. Probably for Button too. Probably have a similar style. Both trying to last longer on tyres instead of driving faster.

  14. Luke (@themrwriter) said on 28th September 2012, 11:08

    Peter Sauber will be needing some cash now, so can see Bruno Senna taking his Brazilian money across – he’s not got the recognition he deserves for outperforming Maldonado this year, save for Pastor’s race win, and it’s clear Williams want Bottas in a race seat. Alternatively could see Petrov getting the drive if he can get some roubles together (Glock, Kovalainen and Alguersuari all lack the sponsorship money), freeing up a seat at Caterham for van der Garde.

  15. baldgye (@baldgye) said on 28th September 2012, 11:09

    Good for Perez, he should be a beast in a McLaren

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