On the same day that Lewis Hamilton has announced his move to Mercedes, it has been confirmed that Sergio Perez will replace his role at the McLaren team.
Perez leaped into the sport in 2011, instantly taking it by storm. Three podium finishes this year has confirmed him as a “giant killer”, according to McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh:
"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 praised Lewis Hamilton for his services to the team:
"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."
Unsurprisingly, Perez was delighted to be joining a frontrunning team:
"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 Formula 1. 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
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."