Perez signs on with Force India
Mexico's Sergio Perez completed his move to the Force India Formula One team on Thursday. Perez was dropped after just a year at McLaren, but the British-based Indian outfit were quick to add him to their roster.other Updated: Dec 12, 2013 22:09 IST
Mexico's Sergio Perez completed his move to the Force India Formula One team on Thursday.
Perez was dropped after just a year at McLaren, but the British-based Indian outfit were quick to add him to their roster.
The 23-year-old's switch leaves Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil, last year's Force India drivers, facing an uncertain future in the sport.
Scottish driver Di Resta had expected to lose his seat and has expressed hope he may join Sauber, with a drive for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM touring car series also a possibility.
Guadalajara-born Perez completes Force India's 2014 driver team, with Nico Hulkenberg last month confirmed as the other racer just months after quitting Sauber.
Force India announced in a statement: "Sahara Force India is delighted to announce the signing of Sergio Perez as race driver for the team in 2014 and beyond.
"The 23-year-old Mexican completes Sahara Force India's 2014 line-up alongside Nico Hulkenberg and helps create one of the most exciting pairings on the grid."
Perez picked up just 35 points during 2013, far less than his teammate Jensen Button, with 60, who early in the season often complained about his younger sidekick's aggressive driving when they were directly racing each other.
The Mexican had said when leaving McLaren that he would look for the best possible package to fight for wins, suggesting perhaps he didn't feel McLaren were capable of that.
But he believes he can thrive as part of Force India's emerging team and he said: "Coming here was always my first choice and I'm really happy everything has now been confirmed.
"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."
Team principal and managing director Vijay Mallya is determined to get the best out of his new driver.
"It's a pleasure to welcome Sergio to the team," Mallya said. "He brings a healthy mix of youth and experience, and I've been 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. We also recognise Sergio's incredible talent and we are proud to have him in our team.
"He clearly has great speed and plenty of fire in his belly."
Perez had earnt his move to McLaren, to replace the Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton, by finishing three times on the podium for Sauber in 2012.
But the entire McLaren team struggled throughout 2013.
Perez will bring significant financial support to Force India as he is sponsored by Mexican telecommunications company Telmex, who just happen to be owned by Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world.