Sergio Perez’s Formula One future has been secured today after being announced as Nico Hulkenberg’s team mate at Force India, at an unveiling in London’s Mexican Consul.
This confirms that both Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta will need to look elsewhere for a 2014 seat.
But for Perez, whose future had been thrown in to the air following his surprise departure from McLaren, he had options with Force India, Sauber and even a switch to Indycar as a possibility for future plans. However, he will now join Force India to create a strong driver line-up.
Force India will go into the new season with two new drivers, although Hulkenberg is known to them from his 2011 and 2012 seasons.
A difficult 2013 for Perez was compounded by a poor McLaren machine that gave him, nor Jenson Button, the chance to battle amongst the top teams. But he showed glimpses of why McLaren employed him and he may thrive, as he did with Sauber, in a team with less intense pressures.
“It’s great to announce my new team as Force India,” said Perez. “Coming here was always my first choice and I’m really happy everything has now been confirmed. I want to say thank you to Vijay and the whole team for giving me the opportunity.
“It’s all change for next season with the new regulations, but I already have a good feeling about 2014. My plan now is to visit the factory and get to know everyone in the team.”
Maintaining Perez in Formula One is also an important factor for the introduction of a Mexican Grand Prix. Seeing him leave Formula One along with Esteban Gutierrez, whose future is unknown, would have made a Mexican GP less desirable for its backers.
There is also the fact of the financial backing that Perez enjoys, namely Carlos Slim’s Telmex money. It is believed that a figure of around 15million euros is making its way to Silverstone, which will help with the team’s development as we enter a new era of Formula One.
Force India’s 2013 driver pairing will now be well in to looking elsewhere for a drive, with Adrian Sutil linked with Sauber.
But for Paul Di Resta it could be a long winter as he assesses his future in motorsport. A return to DTM is likely, but he still has a lot to offer in Formula One, so a reserve driver role is not off the cards – possibly at Mercedes.