Mexican driver Sergio Perez has announced he will leave McLaren at the end of the season after just one year with the Woking-based team.
It comes a day after JA on F1 reported that the team had dropped Perez and replaced him with Dane Kevin Magnussen – however the latter’s signing has yet to be announced by the team.
Perez, who revealed his decision via a statement on Twitter, joined McLaren this year after two solid seasons with Sauber. While the car has struggled for pace, Perez has failed to match team-mate Jenson Button, scoring 35 points to the 2009 world champion’s 60.
“First of all, I would like to thank McLaren for giving me the opportunity to be with them this season,” said Perez, 23. “It has been an honour for me to have been in one of the most competitive teams in the sport and I do not regret even a bit having joined them. I have always given the best of me for the team and still despite this I could not achieve what I aimed for in this historic team.
“I am committed to deliver very good results in these last two races, especially in Austin. I am so much looking forward to see all my people gathered there, feel their energy and show them the best of me.
“I would like to say to every single one of my fans around the world and in my country that I am eternally grateful to them. They have never let me down, especially in difficult moments like these. I truly appreciate their support, they have never forgotten me.
“I have met a lot of new people at McLaren this season and I have made many good friends as well. From the top management level to marketing, accounting and engineering departments to the mechanics, the cooks, the catering people and basically everyone in the team, I am eternally grateful to them. It has been a learning experience to me.”
Perez’s best option to stay in Formula 1 appears to be Force India, although he is also known to be talking to Sauber with regards a return to the Swiss team.
The Mexican added: “I would like to wish the team the very best in the future. I will always be a fan of McLaren, in the meanwhile I will be looking at my future to ensure my position in the best possible package to fight for wins. You can rest assured that I will never give up.”
In response to Perez’s announcement and ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh released a statement – but refused to say who would replace Perez alongside Button next season.
“We would like to thank Checo for his kind and gracious statement and for being a fine team member during the 2013 Formula One season,” he said. “There are still two grands prix yet to run this year, and our collective focus is on scoring as many points as we can in those two remaining races.
“Checo has made many friends during his time at McLaren – and, together, as a team, we intend to do our utmost to help him finish his year with us with two good results, especially here in Austin, where he has so many fans. We wish him well for the future, and are sure that he will have many successes ahead of him.
“As regards our driver line-up for next year, no 2014 deal has yet been signed with any driver except Jenson, and we therefore have nothing further to announce at this time. As and when that situation progresses, we will make a further announcement accordingly.”