Sergio Perez, Vijay Mallya, Force India, 2013

All change at Force India as Perez joins Hulkenberg

2014 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sergio Perez, Vijay Mallya, Force India, 2013Force India have confirmed Sergio Perez will race for them in 2014 after signing a “multi-year deal” with the former McLaren driver.

Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya said he was “very impressed with his recent performances”.

“He already has several podium finishes to his name and being chosen by McLaren last year was a clear indication that he is a driver to watch for the future,” Mallya added.

Perez will partner Nico Hulkenberg, whose signing was confirmed earlier this month, as the team changes both its drivers for the new season.

“By pairing Sergio alongside Nico, we enter the new season with an extremely competitive line-up, which will go toward helping us achieve our goals for the new season,” said Mallya.

“Coming here was always my first choice and I’m really happy everything has now been confirmed,” said Perez.

“This is a young team with a lot of determination and they’ve produced competitive cars for the last few years. It’s all change for next season with the new regulations, but I already have a good feeling about 2014.”

The news means both Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil have lost their seats.

See the updated list of 2014 F1 drivers and teams

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Image © Force India

137 comments on “All change at Force India as Perez joins Hulkenberg”

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  1. I’m sad to see Paul di Resta leave the team and hope he still gets a seat at Sauber. Di Resta has been one of the best rookies since 2009 when the in-season testing was completely banned, he made further progress in 2013 and he definitely deserves to be on the grid on merit.

    Nevertheless, I think Force India have made the best of their financial situation. Just like Lotus, they seem to have taken one excellent driver and one decent driver with some sponsorship money and good potential.

    I don’t think Perez would be hired if he didn’t bring any funding with him but he’s still a good driver, who has been able to deliver very strong performances now and then. Now it’s up to the Mexican to prove that he can do that constantly and that McLaren made a mistake by dropping him.

    1. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
      12th December 2013, 14:17

      +1. I don’t like the man but he deserves to be on the grid.

    2. I think he said he’ll most likely be racing in DTM next year.

    3. I don’t think Perez would be hired if he didn’t bring any funding with him but he’s still a good driver, who has been able to deliver very strong performances now and then.

      I agree with that @girts, I think that if not for Perez becoming available, they could have had Sutil in the other car, who also brings a bit of a budget with him but is a dependable mid field runner

    4. @girts meh, I’m not sad to see Paul go. His attitude maybe spoiled my views towards him, but I don’t think he “deserves” a seat. His 2011 was strong, but that’s in comparision to Sutil, who for me is just mediocre. And then put against a proper star, he was shown the way. Hulkenberg was mixing with the top guns late in the season, while Paul was struggling for points.

      And then again this year, he was way too closely matched with Sutil. Given the way Kobayashi and Kovalainen left the sport, Paul’s had it.

      As for rookie since 2009, Bianchi, Hulkenberg, Grosjean (in first-lap-nutcase form too) and even Perez stand out in comparision, IMO…

      I like Force India’s prospects now. Proper line-up, good for them !

      1. @fer-no65 I agree that everything suggests that Hulkenberg is better than di Resta. But it should also be noted that Hulk got the upper hand over the Scot only in the last six races of the 2012 season, until then both were evenly matched.

        I don’t see how Perez is better than Di Resta. The fact that McLaren replaced him with a rookie after just one year speaks volumes.

        Fans always love to see changes in driver line-ups and Perez is also good looking and fun to watch but I believe there is no reason to think that he is capable of scoring more points per season than Di Resta.

        1. The fact McLaren picked Perez and may not have even considered di Resta, and now Force India have done likewise, must speak volumes as well then?

          1. @deej92 As for Di Resta and McLaren, there can be several reasons why a team ignores particular drivers. For instance, McLaren also don’t seem to be interested in Hulkenberg even though team principals rate him even higher than Button. But if a team like McLaren signs multi-year agreement with a driver and then fires him after one season, it must mean they’re pretty disappointed with his performance. For sure, we don’t know if Di Resta would have done a better job there but he has never had a chance to prove himself in any other team than Force India.

            As for Di Resta and Force India, it’s pretty obvious that money is an important factor here, AUTOSPORT reports that Perez brings around 15 million euro.

            Perez is not a bad driver, he deserves to be in F1 and I won’t be sad if he performs well next year but I don’t believe that he deserves that seat more than Di Resta does.

          2. @girts It’s true that Perez is bringing a hefty bit of money with him to Force India, but he isn’t a Max Chilton. The money is just a very nice bonus as he is a good driver. I think Force India just wanted some new blood as they haven’t progressed with the old. It’s difficult to say who is better out of di Resta and Perez, but Perez has had some giant-killing performances (Sauber) while being a consistent points-scorer for McLaren. Di Resta has had a couple of 4ths and 6ths but it just isn’t enough without sponsorship and portraying a negative image hasn’t helped.

        2. @girts McLaren replaced him after just 1 season on a woeful car and, according to them only, because Magnussen was just too good. Which is perfectly valid. I still think McLaren chose the wrong youngster, they rushed the decision and signed the first guy that came across them. But at Sauber, he showed a lot of promise. It’s sad how things ended up for both parties.

          Hulk and Paul were closely matched but in those last 6 races, it wasn’t a match anymore. Maybe it had to do with Hulk lack of racing the year before, but he moved a step further up. Di Resta never did the same while against Sutil…

          Again, I might be biased because I totally hate Paul di Resta (and Sutil). But I don’t think either of them set the world alight. A bit like the Buemi-Alguersuari situation a couple of years ago…

        3. I must say Di Resta failed to impress me at all. I don’t watch the British broadcasts, so I barely heard his name throughout these 2 years. I think what Perez did in the Sauber was more interesting than anything Di Resta has shown in Force India. And well, Hulkenberg has shown he can deliver in the Force India, Sauber and Williams cars, no minor feat if you ask me.

        4. @gifts – McLaren have said that their first preference was to keep Perez and give Magnussen a year’s worth of experience with a junior team, but there were no takers and the team felt that placing Magnussen in another series would be a waste of time and his talent. You can bet they had a hand in placing Perez at Force India.

          1. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was FI that McLaren were going to place Magnussen with, and they rather cunningly pulled out of the deal seeing that Macca would pop Magnussen in their car and could thus sweep up Perez with his Mexican monies.

            Crazy enough to be true in F1.

    5. It’s time to be more competitive for Force India team. I’ve been very happy with Nico’s return. Now with Sergio I think they will take the team to s higher level.

    6. Does Paul deserve the seat over Perez? Don’t think so. Is Paul one of the best rookies since 2009? Only if you do a yearly rookie rating. It’s sad that he got to leave during the only year in which he beat a team mate, but he beat Sutil.
      On the other hand, Perez has shown he has the ability to score podiums, which something even Hulkenberg has not managed.

  2. Very good line up at Force India now

    1. Now they just need a good car!!

    2. Definitely strongest line-up in the midfield

      1. +1, and I’d like to see the Williams in it too, that could produce nice fights :)

      2. Yess. I have never been a fan of this team so far . But , now , oo it’s to strong to ignore ,
        Kudos to the guys at Force India . Now , they need a good car and then it’s going to be fun .

    3. I really think this is a major improvement over Sutil/di Resta. For the upcoming season FI did the job just right.

      One very good/close-to-elite driver in Hülkenberg that delivers in 9 out of 10 cases on a multi-year-contract and one quick driver in Perez whose career went sideways for a year. Nonetheless I still consider Perez to be the best among all pay drivers and he does have some room for improvement. Perez’s money is the icing on the cake for FI. Easily the best lineup of all midfielders yet.

      One concern for Hülkenberg is how to get out of his contract in the years to come if another top seat happens to be vacant. Business wise a smart move from FI if Hülkenberg needs to be bought out of the contract. We will see.

    4. Perfectly said, @callum
      Hoping FI get some strong results on the board
      and/or a few podiums.

  3. Chuffed to see him confirmed. FI have turned their team over on it’s head with this driver line up, they’re looking pretty keen for next year based on just this. Hopefully they can provide, they haven’t been wide of the mark for the last few years so I have faith!

    Very excited to watch this pairing fight it out. Bravo Force India.

    1. W (@yesyesyesandyesagain)
      13th December 2013, 0:29

      It would be amazing if FI pulled a Brawn GP and came out of the gate way ahead of everyone, heck it would be amazing if any of the mid-field teams pulled that off. I really hope the deck gets shuffled next year.

  4. I love this move by Force India. Both drivers are in the crop of young and talented and both will want to show how good they are: Hulkenberg for not getting a seat at a top-team and Perez for being let go by McLaren after one season(injustly, imo). There might be fireworks next year at FI, but at least it will be a very interesting battle to watch.

    1. @gicu I agree: Looking at the list of previous Force India F1 drivers I’d say it’s the strongest line-up they’ve had so far.

      I can understand why some found Di Resta’s attitude made him hard to like but he is a good driver and he had the beating of Sutil this year. It would be good to see him find a place in F1 next year if he can.

      Sutil I think has had a good run and we’ve seen the best he has to offer.

      1. Strongest line up for the Silverstone squad since their Jordan days off course @keithcollantine!

      2. I always had the feeling that Sutil had more in him than most people could see, but I have to agree with you – after so many seasons, he’s had enough time to show it. Others were far more impressive in the very same team. Now, this pairing is amazing: both are really fast drivers, and though Hulkenberg has more finesse and defensive skills, Perez is more aggressive and surprising. If their car performs in any race like it did in Spa 2009, these drivers will be more likely to get a win than Fisichella. I’d love to see FI take some silverware home in 2014.

      3. David not Coulthard (@)
        12th December 2013, 15:02

        I’d say that Hill-Scumacher or Frentzen-Hill (well, especially the latter) was probably better :p

        1. I’m pretty sure that Eddie Jordan testing Jos Verstappen to potentially replace Damon says a lot about his 1999 season. Strong on paper, yes, but in reality Hill wore the team down that year.

          Not to mention Ralf’s frequent shunts in 1998.

        2. @davidnotcoulthard As I’m sure you know they were Jordan then.

        3. Frentzen was incredibly underrated in my opinion. Very talented driver in most respects, shame he got duffed up a bit by Villneuve in 97.

      4. the first time in years that Mallya sign both drivers quite early-ish. good job Vijay, if the car were fantastic, they would be explosive!

        1. That’s very true. I remember they only confirmed Sutil last season a few weeks before Melbourne!

      5. Wow, Sutil already 5 seasons in F1!

        And he just failed to impress me all these years, why is this guy still in F1?

      6. @keithcollantine, given that Sutil said he definitively would be on the grid in 2014 (whilst implying it was w/ FI), do you think that was just braggadocio on his part, or did he have a signed contract that’s been either bought out or broken?

      7. Agreed that this is the strongest FI lineup ever. It reminds me of the 1997 Jordan lineup of Ralf and Fisi. They were both young and quick and did great things in that bright yellow Jordan. Perez is not your average pay driver either, as some have said. His 2012 results in the Sauber and his performances in a frankly rubbish car in 2013 against a solid benchmark like Button have prove he’s a worthy driver. Unlike PDR or Sutil, both of whom I think were ordinary. I just cannot believe that Sutil is still in F1. I think Bianchi deserves a better seat and has more potential than Sutil taking a reasonable spot in the Sauber for next year.

        But good on FI. I hope they ‘do a Jordan’ next year and become a real thorn in the side of the big boys!

  5. This could well be the 3rd or 4th strongest line-up on the grid. Very promising. A strong car (which FI did have before the tyre change) could mean a seriously competitive season for the team!

    1. I agree. Alonso/Kimi and Hamilton/Rosberg are the top 2 lineups (as both drivers are capable of winning the WDC)followed by Vettel/Riccardio (because Vettel is likely to win the WDC!). I think Hulk is the next best driver on the grid though and Perez has shown that he is more than capable of a decent result. If Force India have a good car next year, they could definately pull a few surprises!

  6. Expect Hulkenberg to be on top next season there.

    1. Also, shame about Di Resta, but he never set the world alight…

      1. That would make him an arsonist at the best

        1. or not an arsonist, you mean… lol

  7. That’s great line-up for Force India! Let’s hope they will build good car next year :-)

  8. Excellent news. Surely this gives Force India its best ever line-up. Possibly the best line-up for the Silverstone-based team since the days of Frentzen and Trulli.

  9. Third strongest line up, I think. It’s a shame for Perez, really. He left Ferrari for McLaren, so that door is probably closed. McLaren had him and they dont want him anymore, that leaves Red Bull, who pick from their young drivers, and Lotus, who have no guarantee of success in the near future.

  10. Force India may now finally be worthy of the first part of their name.

    1. However it’s too crowded with the amount of talents in the team, thereby it’s also worthy of the second part of their name.

      1. I see what you did there…..;)

  11. Good Job Vijay Mallya!

    See you around….Paul….

  12. Great to see Checo completing the line up. Any news about the sponsorship?

    1. Well I guess Telmex will be sponsoring them, which means my phone bills will now have pictures of a Force India all over it instead of a Sauber :p

      1. Strong rumors dictate Quaker State will be his second sponsor

    2. Checo brings 15 million, that’s less than Maldonado if I’m right

      1. Pastor brings around 29million if m not wrong

  13. About time we got rid of that moaner & crasher. Brazil 2012 did it for me. Hulk fighting for 1st place while di resta casually hits the wall in 10th place or something like that.

    1. Firstly, Hulkenberg caused an avoidable collision in the same race, too. Secondly, how can you judge a driver by just one race? Would you call Button useless just because he finished 16th in the 2012 Canadian GP, while Hamilton won the race?

      1. Hulk was fighting for the lead and attempted an overtake in difficult conditions with backmarkers involved in the process and blew it, true. Still he had the pace to win while di resta was nowhere. And its not just one race i’m talking about, di resta had more than enough time to show his worth. 3 years to be precise. He showed next to nothing. Just as rubbish as sutil.

        1. He showed he is better than Sutil, who got 5 years to show what he is capable of.

          The worst is: Sutil will have a seat next year but di Resta not :(

      2. @girts – your sporting defense of Di Resta is admirable, but surely it’s a lost cause? Many people here simply don’t like him, and whilst he merited the seat at FI for the time he had it, now he no longer does and it’s as simple as that.

        I agree ppl shouldn’t slag him and make the ridiculous claim that he didnt deserve the time he’s had in F1 b/c obviously he earned it, but now it’s just over and trying to fight for him here seems futile.

        I’m much more interested in what you think he can do now, from here? Can he return to the DTM? Will a team pay him a wage to drive there for them? What’s up w/ his court case? Is he going to be prosecuted for entrapment?

        1. @joepa For sure, nothing will change the fact that Di Resta’s days in F1 are numbered (or so it seems) but I think we’re still having a good discussion here (I always try to avoid calling any driver “rubbish” or “a moaner” though).

          I’m talking about this because I’m a Di Resta fan but also because I believe that this is just another example of “money over talent”, while a lot of fans seem to believe that FI have actually improved their driver line-up. Yes, we’re not talking about a driver of Vettel’s calibre here but it doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. I’m definitely going to move on soon but right now it’s appropriate to discuss the FI decision.

          As for Di Resta’s future, it seems that he will most likely return to DTM and get paid for it. DTM cars are very specific so being good in both series is no mean feat. The court case… Hamilton’s arguments don’t sound convincing but we cannot really know what happened between them. It’s just sad that any driver has to go through this, no wonder Vettel has no manager at all.

          1. cheers @girts for the response.

            It’s just sad that any driver has to go through this, no wonder Vettel has no manager at all.

            true, and also worth noting that it’s a unique situation made much easier for Vettel given that he’s the most successful active F1 driver right now, meaning he has all the power right now (or at least most of it) in negotiating, which is a very different dynamic to a driver who has to convince a team to sign him, or a sponsor to back him.

            I’m sure you understand what I mean, in that Vettel is in a very unique and enviable position. And so why spend 10% of his contract value on a superfluous manager who may not add value to the situation, when he can just pay as needed to an attorney to review the legal documents to ensure they’re properly drawn-up…

    2. Di Resta is a good driver. He just has very, VERY weak character.

  14. I like this line up Force India have, it’s definitely the best line up they have had so far.

  15. Yes. Thats what i was looking for. A really strong line up. Paul never gave a feeling of a strong driver, just consistent at the most. Sutil has been very disappointing IMO with average performance. And to insult your team by calling it names just a year after they gave him a lifeline when he his career was almost over was disgusting. I see this new pair with great potential and some interesting results next year.

    Also its easy to see how much Mallya wanted to drop Paul and Sutil. Not even a word about them after signing Nico or Perez. Honestly, nothing much to thank them for IMO.

    1. @1abe

      to insult your team by calling it names

      I’m not sure what you’re referring to here.

        1. @1abe Got a link to the original story?

          1. @KeithCollantine Here is the interview with AMuS, he also says he’s happy to have got rid of the 2013 car.

          2. Thanks @Girts – will grab my German dictionary and give it a go when I’ve got a minute…

          3. @keithcollantine Sorry for the delay. Thank you @girts for the link and @joepa for the translation.

          4. cheers @1abe my pleasure. it was a nice exercise to learn the context of Sutil’s remarks. have a good one!

    2. @Girts @keithcollantine @hohum @1abe guys, here is a link to the original article but please read what I say about the interviewer’s question b/c the context to AS’s response was so important and not really given fair hearing:

      Adrian Sutil exklusiv
      “Das Auto ist einfach eine Möhre”

      Adrian Sutil hat die Saison 2013 auf Platz 13 der Fahrertabelle beendet. Im Interview mit auto motor und sport spricht der Force India-Pilot über Probleme in Brasilien, die verpassten Chancen in der abgelaufenen Saison, den Ärger mit südamerikanischen Fahrern und den Ausblick in die Zukunft.

      While they’re leading w/ headline that makes it seem like Sutil said the FI car was total crap, his response was actually to a very specific question about a very specific issue, the challenge of setting up the car for dry-running during actual GP (Sunday):

      Wie schwer war es, das passende Setup für den trockenen Sonntag zu finden? [How hard was it to find the right setup for the dry Sundays?]

      Sutil’s full response:

      “Mit dem der Übersetzung waren wir gut dabei. Der 7. Gang hat perfekt gepasst. Auch mit DRS bin ich nicht in den Begrenzer gefahren. Dadurch konnte ich auch relativ problemlos überholen. Ansonsten war das Auto aber nicht besonders gut. Wir hatten jedes Problem, das man haben kann: Untersteuern, Übersteuern – in langsamen Kurven, in schnellen Kurven. Man konnte auch durch die Verstellmöglichkeiten im Cockpit nicht viel machen. Letztendlich ist das Auto einfach eine Möhre. Da geht einfach nichts.”

      What Sutil is saying (not an auto-translation):

      “With the selection of gear ratios for the transmission we were doing well. The 7th gear has fit perfectly. Even with DRS I have not ridden in the delimiter. Thus I was able to overtake relatively easily. Otherwise, the car was not particularly good. We had every problem that you may have: understeer, oversteer – in slow corners, fast corners. You could not do much with the adjustment via the cockpit. Ultimately, the car is simply a carrot. Simply because nothing works.”

      So yes, in response to the question about setting up the car for dry running, Sutil starts out by saying that the transmission was great (that the gear ratios were perfectly selected for dry Sunday running) and even w/ the DRS open in 7th he was not on the rev limiter. But then he chronicles the problems they experienced w/ the car in dry running during Sunday’s race, specifically w/r/t what he could manipulate or control via cockpit adjustments, and there wasn’t anything in his opinion that he could fix/improve while behind the wheel in those dry conditions…

      And it’s then that he describes the car as being simply a carrot, in German the idiomatic expression equivalent of “the car was simply a lemon” in English…which we know implies that it was not functioning correctly.

      so the car was a lemon in dry running b/c none of the adjustments available to him via cockpit could overcome the non-gearing-related set-up difficulties.

      Das Auto ist einfach eine Möhre” … it’s hardly insulting as much as it’s just honest criticism…saying the car was not very adjustable or very driveable under those conditions, descriptions that emerge from the context of the idiom Sutil used.

  16. Fantastic line-up. If Force India can build a good car next year (certainly possible if the rumors about the new Mercedes engine is true) then I expect a lot of fireworks from the team.

  17. I’m really glad to see Perez get the seat. This is one of the best midfield line-ups I’ve seen for a few years. Both drivers flourished at Sauber, and will have points to prove.

    I’ve never routed for Force India before because their line-ups were just so uninspiring, but I will now as I’m a fan of Perez and you can’t help but appreciate Hulkenberg’s ability. It’s quite a coup for them to have both drivers and it’s a big improvement on their last line-up.

    I don’t want to sound callous, but I won’t be ruing F1’s loss of di Resta. Let’s be honest, it’s doubtful he’ll get a Sauber seat considering they couldn’t afford to pay their last non-pay-driver, and they’ll be relying on two pay-drivers, i.e. Sutil and one of Gutierrez and Sirotkin. Di Resta isn’t that much better than Sutil to forego the money Sutil brings considering they’re struggling financially.

  18. David not Coulthard (@)
    12th December 2013, 15:05

    So…will they try to better EJ’s 3rd place in the WCC a few years from now, if not next year?

  19. Next year certainly sees a lot of interesting pairings now.
    Red Bull now have 2 drivers from their YDP in the team, and Vettel gets his first chance to prove himself against another driver since he’s come to form.
    Ferrari have 2 World Champions in Alonso and Raikkonen, and they couldn’t be more different out of the car.
    Lotus have Grosjean and Maldonado. This time last year that could have been considered the nightmare team, but Grosjean has come good and there’s some hope that the team may be able to control Maldonado. Time will tell.
    Mercedes have Hamilton and Rosberg, who were close last year and look to be close again, hopefully fighting for the championship.
    McLaren have Button and Magnussen, 2 completely different ends of the spectrum. 1 driver who has just about done it all and had all the ups and downs, and new blood with Magnussen as he tries to make an impact.
    Williams have a similar situation though not as extreme in Massa and Bottas.
    Toro Rosso have given Kvyat a chance to jump GP2/FR3.5 and get straight into F1, lets hope he can get to grips with it.
    And now we’ve got Perez and Hulkenburg in Force India, a line-up of drivers that can be incredibly good on their day and have proven that at several points. My money would be on Hulkenburg to edge Perez next season, but it’s certainly going to be an exciting line-up.

    So even if the 2014 cars are so different to each other in terms of performance, the inter-team battles should easily keep us interested!

    1. You certainly have done the research, my friend @keeleyobsessed…. :)
      I do believe Force India can win a race next year and I would lke that a lot as I am an Indian…:D

      1. @major-dev The announcements are all there, just needs someone with a bit of memory. The way I tend to do it is to make chains such as Webber-Ricciardo-Kvyat or Massa-Raikkonen-Maldonado-Massa-Raikkonen etc. Then it’s a lot easier.

        Hoping Force India get a good result next year, I wanted Hulkenburg to do well in Brazil last year, and it’s always nice to see a different team on the podium at least..

  20. Excellent, and if the Mercedes engines are as good as they are rumored to be then FI might even manage to get that elusive win.

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