Mexican driver Sergio Perez says he is confident he will remain with McLaren for a second season in 2014, following an impressive drive to fifth in the Indian Grand Prix.
The 23-year-old ran deep into the race on the medium tyres and then performed a brilliant pass on Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen in the same move to secure fifth at the Buddh International Circuit – his best result of the season.
McLaren have yet to officially announce their line-up for next year, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has said he expects to field the same two drivers next year and sporting director Sam Michael also hinted at an unchanged line up this weekend, but rumours have persisted in recent weeks that the team has been looking around.
Britain’s Jenson Button has effectively said he’s staying at the team for a fifth season, however, Perez’s future has remained uncertain following an uninspiring year.
Perez has scored just 33 points to his team-mate’s haul of 60, scoring points on eight occasions while Button has been in the points 12 times in 16 races.
But the Mexican remains bullish about his hopes of staying at the Woking-based team. “I am confident I will stay here,” he said. “I haven’t seen the need to go after any other team. I expect to come back with this team.”
Sam Michael refused to comment on the team’s plans for next year in terms of drivers but admitted: “[Button and Perez] have carried the company really well throughout that period, we’re really happy with the job that they’ve both done.
“As Martin has said a few times before, the most likely thing is that these will be our two race drivers for next year.”
And Michael added that Perez has now started to deal much better with the pressures of driving for a top team.
“I think Sergio’s focus now is really good,” said Michael. “He’s doing all the right things, he’s keeping his head down. He’s focusing on delivering in the remaining races for this year and that’s what a professional racing driver does.”
McLaren has yet to score a podium this season in 16 races. If they reach the end of the season without a top three finish it would be the first time since 1980. They have scored just 93 points, less than one quarter of the points they scored last season.