McLaren confirm Perez to replace Hamilton

Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber celebrates on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday 9 September 2012.

Sergio Perez celebrates on the Monza podium

Sep.28 (McLaren Press Release) Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is delighted to announce that it has signed 22-year-old Mexican Sergio Perez to a multi-year deal from the start of the 2013 season.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber celebrate on the podium with Niki Lauda (AUT). Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday 9 September 2012.In just two short years, Sergio has made a stunning impression on Formula One, taking a string of hugely impressive, giant-killing podium finishes while combining a deft turn of speed with considerable maturity, and showcasing the potential ability to become one of the biggest stars in global motorsport.

Sergio’s new deal means that he will begin a driving partnership with 2009 world champion Jenson Button. The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team’s new driver line-up offers the perfect blend of youth and experience – a combination from which both sides of the garage are set to benefit.

While Sergio’s career with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will begin in earnest in Melbourne next year, his future team remains absolutely committed to fighting for, and providing every opportunity to both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton to contest, the 2012 drivers’ and constructors’ world championships.

Sergio Perez said: “I’m thrilled and delighted to have become a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver. The McLaren name is one of the greatest in the history of F1. For more than 40 years McLaren has been a team that every racing driver has aspired to drive for – I was brought up on the great stories of Ayrton Senna’s many world championship triumphs for McLaren – and I’m truly honoured that they’ve chosen me to partner Jenson from 2013 onwards.

Sergio Perez in action during the Singapore GP

“I’ve spent the 2012 season working very hard to demonstrate my potential, but I’ve always remained humble and focused. I am, and always will be, extremely grateful to Peter [Sauber] and everybody at the Sauber F1 team for their belief in me, and for giving me the chance to race in F1.

“In fact, they gave me the perfect opportunity to demonstrate what I can do – and I’m now equally grateful to Martin [Whitmarsh] and everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes for giving me the chance to take this next very big step in my career.

“I’m under no illusion that it is indeed a very big step – as it would be for any driver – but I’m ready for it. So, while I’m still fully focused on doing my best for Sauber for the remainder of this season, I’m already massively looking forward to working with everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, and with Jenson, who’s someone I’ve long admired as a brilliant driver and a great champion.

“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.

Podium (L to R): Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari “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.”

Martin Whitmarsh (Team Principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) 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.

“Finally, it’s entirely appropriate that I should take this opportunity to pass on our thanks to Lewis [Hamilton]. 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.”

Morten Lundal (Group Chief Commercial Officer, Vodafone) said: “On behalf of all at Vodafone, I’d like to say how pleased we are that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has signed Sergio to a multi-year deal. We look forward to enjoying success with Sergio and McLaren.”

Subbed by AJN.

  • Speedo

    This is indeed sad news. I was hoping that Lewis would stay with McLaren. I believe that there will be divided loyalties next season

  • Chris

    I’m Happy For Checo His hard work is paying off
    He deserve a seat in big team lets hope he get his first win in Mclaren in the Very first race with his New team

  • Butterfly

    So now McLaren have two mediocre drivers and they have to pay for their engines. Good job, Martin.

  • Rabih fares

    I think that Schumi will be the replacement of Perez at Sauber

  • fapper

    I thought all along that Lewis was set to stay with the McLaren team, but I was wrong. I hope Lewis made the right choice in signing with the AMG Petronas Mercedes team for 3 years.

  • aks

    this is the worst thing Mc Laren would have ever done sergio is still a kid not everybody has the luck of vettel to have an adrian newey to become a world champion sergio is lucky though to get into a big team but is not gonna do anything great on the other hand future is gonna be ferrari vs mercedes the 2 giants and great team of alonso and vettel and hamilton and may be someone else coz nico is also gonna see the exit door soon may be 2014 will have the best grid of these 2 teams forza ferrari good luck mercedes and bad luck to Mc Laren though not to forget Lotus who is gonna be a great fight too but Mc Laren is history

  • f1 fan

    All i can say is Alonso and Hamilton beware of Checo, cause now he would be in a much competitive car than before !!

  • McLaren Fan

    Well I hope Checo can do great things in a McLaren along side Jenson.
    Hugely disappointed with Lewis the show biz has got to him ££££££££££ speak more than winning.

  • Butterfly

    You guys know his name is Sergio, not Checo, right?

    Seriously, you all talk about him like he’s some cute puppy just because of that unfortunate jaw of his and the fact he’s hairy.

    Regardless, now McLaren have finally achieved balance. Alonso and Hamilton were just too good for that team.

  • Kimi4WDC

    @Butterfly did someone steal your candy? Take a chill pill.

  • kaka007

    Perez will be nothing like hamilton…i’m sure of that and championships are not gonna go to mclaren in the near future by the way.. sergio is too overhyped and who is just a strategic superstar.. I think maldonado(normal without crashing), hulkenberg are better faster drivers than perez n by a big margin maybe di resta too…….
    I’m sad for mclaren, nothing against perez by the way.. he is just another button..

  • Going nowhere fast

    Looks like McClaren is now a team going no where fast. Button is not their answer and Perez is going to find out that he is not as good as he thinks he is.

    McClaren should have pulled out all stops to sign Kimi as he has the ability to bring the championship to McClaren.

    I think Perez is going to struggle.

    Cross McClaren off the list of championship teams for 2013 and beyond with thier new line up.

    If the new Lotus DRS passive system works they will have an advantage over all the other teams next year and Kimi may just walk away with next years title.

  • sleek

    groomed by ferrari and went to our rivals..TRAITOR

  • Emaaduddin

    I agree with kaka007.. 100%..

  • Emaaduddin

    @sleek.. Dont worry.. He is just going the Kimi way..
    Start career at Sauber, then go to McLaren, then win championship with Ferrari!! ;)

  • sleek

    @Emaaduddin i would love it if he does it in alonso’s way..and destroys the mclaren from inside:D

  • Emaaduddin

    @sleek:: I would love to see that happen!! :D

  • AlonsoFan

    @Emaaduddin Well said “He is just going the Kimi way..
    Start career at Sauber, then go to McLaren, then win championship with Ferrari” absolutely true:)..Best of Luck Lewis.I guess Vettel.kimi,Fernando,Jenson will be pretty delighted:one less title contender for 2013 sadly

  • f1 fan

    who knows they might aproach to Kimi next year, if Mclaren isnt happy with Perez, !!

  • f1 fan

    sleek: If Lewis can do that (leave the team that nurtured him) ,why not sergio ,and he still has a long way to go !!

  • McHare

    Good luck Sergio. Think he has the ability to best greedy Hamy and surely will in a mac win several DWC’s. can’t wait!

  • Emaaduddin

    @sleek @AlonsoFan ::
    Sergio Perez on twitter :: “I want to also thank @insideFDA @InsideFerrari for all they help during my first 2 year in f1 !!! Wish to fight for many championships ;)

    His final destination is Ferrari.. :D

  • sleek

    if he perfoms well and gets wdc then he is ours,mclaren cant keep good drivers for too long..we have seen that in past and drivers who left mclaren and then joined ferrari have always perfomed great…so i am optimistic about perez too

  • Xav

    Just a couple of years Sergio, so you can get the McLaren secrets and paint them in red

  • aks

    it will be vettel and alonso in ferrari till 2017 from 2014 after 2017 we will see if its perez or somebody else too many years guys so chill.