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. Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 28th September 2012, 11:12

    I think that the only person upset about the absolutely adorable, cuddly, Fang toothed Mexican’s move to McLaren is Di Resta. There may never be a better shot at a seat in a major team for the Brit, especially if Bottas bursts on to the scene (as he is predicted to do).

  2. Excellent news. Perez has been brilliant since he got into the sport, and he’s got the chance of a lifetime to win races and even a championship in the future.
    Now to finish off a good day of news… Kubica to Sauber please?

  3. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 28th September 2012, 11:21

    I’m really pleased that this particular log-jam has cleared for lots of reasons
    – Hamilton needs a new team to relate to
    – Perez’s talent merits an opportunity in a top team
    – The moves stop McLaren being a team of British drivers and Merceded from being a team of German ones
    Hope it goes well for Chico.

  4. Not sure if Perez is the right one for McLaren. Paul would have been much better choice. Because he’s a proven winner. Perez has got an ability to manage tire but that does not mean he is a potential pace setter. Button is not leader either in terms of speed. Very uncertain future for McLaren.

  5. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 28th September 2012, 11:54

    This is mental!! Wow! Pretty excited though!

  6. Alonsomatic (@the0506alonsomatic) said on 28th September 2012, 12:07

    Although I would have loved to see Checo in red alongside Alonso, I can only be happy for him!! On a funny note, I cannot wait to see Perez playing in Mclaren’s tooned with his nice Mexican accent…1 tequila por favor!!!

  7. James (@jamesf1) said on 28th September 2012, 12:12

    This for me is a bigger story than Hamilton going to Mercedes. The Ferrari star of the future, the leader of their development program, has jumped ship to the nemisis. With it have gone millions in sponsership deals (which Ferrari dont need, but surely more cash in the pocket wont hurt?), and perhaps their next big star, for the next few years at least.

    Perez has also shown two massive fingers to Luca Di Monetezemelo. Someone was daring enough to give this young tallent a shot in the big(ger) game, and he took it. I do hope Perez can make it work at Mclaren, as Ferrari have really not looked at the bigger picture here (see James Allen’s article on the short term future of the sport from yesterday).

    • @jamesf1 You can’t really think that Luca sits at Maranello, isolated from the rest of the world and doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on in the driver’s market. If he didn’t put Perez in a Ferrari car is because they don’t need his services (at the moment at least) and they have a better option for the future. They have a No 1 (Alonso) contracted till 2016, they only need a fast and consitent No 2. If Sergio didn’t have TelMex support he would have accepted this role only to be driving for Ferrari. But with such serious sponsorship behind his back, he would be stupid to do so… He could get a way better bargain from another team – and he did, by taking full advantage of whole Ham-Mac problem. There’s no team better than McLaren at screwing up with their star drivers, expect Perez to be slapping the door at Woking just in time Alonso retires (if no sooner).
      These two moves (Perez and Ham) are pretty exciting but I hope Ferrari drop the biggest bomb with whom will be replacing Massa.

  8. montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 28th September 2012, 12:27

    Wrong move IMO.

    Sergio Perez is very good but the problem is that I see him and Button as very similar type drivers. They both have a smooth, flowing driving style that is very car dependent: if the car is 100% to their liking they drive like gods. But when there’s need to fight with a difficult car that’s not set up precisely to preference they’re nowhere. Because of their so smooth style they also both have a weakness in qualy as they can’t heat up the tires quick enough. Mclaren would be better off covering their bases and signing a more Lewis-esque, more oversteery, “get-on-with-it” driver. My preferred option would be Hulkenberg.

    Just my opinion and I wish Sergio all the best.

    • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 28th September 2012, 13:59

      If anything though this means that they can develop the car in a more definite direction – as not to try and accommodate for two different drivers

      • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 28th September 2012, 20:17

        @electrolite I thought about that and it would be a good counterargument, apart from one thing. What if they fail? There was an article in Autosport a year or two ago about how difficult it is nowadays to develop a car around a specific driver’s style as opposed to, say, 10 years ago. Chief among problems sited was insufficient testing but there were others too.

        So my argument still stands. Mclaren don’t have their bases covered. If they succeed it’ll be a huge success, true. But if they fail, their fall will be spectacular as well. If you can call a double dose of “I have no grip!” moan on the radio that.

  9. Best wishes for Perez to have this opportunity to drive for McLaren this early in his career is “massive”. At this moment I feel gutted that Lewis has done this I wish him the best of luck as he will need it. JB for 2014 WC with a McLaren winning the constructors. Oh Lewis you fool, please prove us wrong but I don’t think so!

  10. Stretch (@stretch) said on 28th September 2012, 12:45

    Imagine Perez on Tooned *shudders*.

  11. rotfl, most of you making perez WDC in 20xx… why? heikki was good and he drove for MCL and won nothing, still seems 2b good in caterham… button is a lucky wdc as he just was in a good place at the good time and in MCL he is no2 driver, clearly and constantly behind lewis. perez is just like button, not fastest, constantly complaining and he is not champion-like guy. mcl just got a puppet to replace hamilton and they screw it big time that they didnt keep hamilton.
    besides what did you expected? mcl for last few years cant develop champioship car lewis has been there 14 years in total, time for a change.
    well done lewis & merc.

    • JP (@jp1987) said on 28th September 2012, 13:21

      You can’t really compare Heikki with Sergio. Sergio has 3 podiums already for Heikki’s 4. I mean, its just completely different ballparks. I definitively think Sergio will be contending for the WDC at some point.

      • sergio’s main strenght is not speed but style ie taking care of tyres. in 2-3 we got fed up with pirellis and yokohama or anybody else will do durable tyres and sergio will lose his main attributes.
        its not i dont like the mexican, but if i compare him to alonso or hamilton it seems he is not one of those guys who can win wdc…
        i’m curious if lewis is made of steel and how he will develop his career with merc.

        • JP (@jp1987) said on 28th September 2012, 17:31

          In this, good Sir, you are absolutely correct. I often ponder about Sergio’s skill on a different kind of competition (ie, one where tires preservation is not that important) But you know, as we say in Mexico “if you are not suffering, don’t suffer” :D (roughly translates to “enjoy the moment”)

          I really wish him the best, being Mexican this is super exciting news (and yes, I have been following F1 since I can remember, in case someone wants to call me a wagon jumper)

          • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 28th September 2012, 19:47

            These are great questions, but do we truly know Sergio is as great as Button at taking care of the tires? Australia 2011 sure seemed to show he was, as did Monza this year, but the Sauber has been the kindest car to the tires since Pirelli came on board. Replicating that kind of success in a new team will be the biggest challenge for Perez yet.

  12. maxthecat said on 28th September 2012, 12:58

    This won’t go well.

  13. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 28th September 2012, 13:15

    Telmex McLaren Mercedes

  14. Badger74 (@badger74) said on 28th September 2012, 13:16

    Interesting to note the words in the McLaren announcement re Vodafone looking forward to success with him. Does that suggest Voda will continue with McLaren? I would have thought that would be mutually exclusive to anything Checo might bring with him from Telmex?

  15. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 28th September 2012, 13:33

    Hopefully this is has silenced those always harping on about McLaren favouring an all British line-up. Di Resta was no doubt waiting in the wings, but it seems they went straight for Checo.

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