Force India looks best hope for Perez after McLaren opts for Magnussen
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Nov 2013   |  2:30 pm GMT  |  363 comments

[Updated] The driver market this season seems both volatile and fluid, with many drivers in the balance and some big moves being made.

The latest is the decision by McLaren, after much agonising, to drop Sergio Perez after just one season and replace him with Kevin Magnussen. The decision has not been announced by McLaren yet, but various news outlets have heard it in the last 24 hours from various sources and this site has had solid evidence that Perez has been dropped. It’s a brutal reversal for Perez, who thought he’d hit the jackpot 12 months ago, moving to the team that had the fastest 2012 car. But it’s been a nightmare season with uncompetitive machinery and McLaren has made little secret of its disappointment in the Mexican’s performance.

His best option appears to be Force India, which is already turning into the in-demand team, with two seats up for grabs and plenty of drivers looking for a life raft. This puts their two current drivers in a difficult position. Adrian Sutil is known to be talking to Sauber, while Nico Hulkenberg’s management is in discussions with Force India.

Sauber is another team, which still has Mexican connections with Carlos Slim’s Telmex team, but this situation too seems fluid at the moment and it doesn’t appear to be the direction Perez is looking in.

There have been many conversations internally in the last two months at McLaren about the pros and cons of Perez and Magnussen but it looks like the “racers” have won this time and they’ve taken a bold step rather than a conservative one. Perez is a known quantity within the team, they’ve seen his numbers on the simulator and in the car over the season and they are able to assess his potential.

Unlike Heikki Kovalainen, who struggled against Lewis Hamilton but was given a second season, McLaren are clearly keen to get on with it and look to the future and a return to full competitiveness.

In Magnussen they feel they may have another Hamilton on their hands (and also in Stoffel Vandoorme) and the racers in the team want to blood him next year, in what is certain to be a transition year for McLaren, before they throw the kitchen sink at it with Honda in 2015. It makes sense to give Magnussen a chance to stake his claim and gain a season’s experience before then. With Fernando Alonso a target for 2015, Magnussen will need to show real form and potential to rival Jenson Button for a seat with the team for 2015. Button provides and excellent benchmark for a young driver like Magnussen.

Magnussen has had limited testing time in the car, but JA on F1 drew attention to his performance in the Young Driver test at Silverstone in July, where JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan had the following to say about the 21 year old Dane’s run:

“Perhaps the standout performance of the test was young Kevin Magnussen in the McLaren on Day 1. The 21 year old has had limited experience in F1, but put in a performance that he and the engineers will be delighted with.

He was sent out with a lot of fuel in the car, but his runs (shown in blue below in Fig 1 below) show highly impressive consistency. If you compare the time delta between the high fuel runs, (shown on the left, the lap times are higher, reflecting the extra weight of the fuel in the car) with the lower fuel runs, on the right, you can see that the difference is what it should be – so he has been able to take the maximum from both the higher and the lower fuel load and has been able to string together laps very consistently in both conditions, with a nice downward trend on both long and short runs.” (His performance is compared in the graph with Paul di Resta.

“If I was on the technical team at McLaren I would be very impressed and very happy with this run,” adds Gillan. “It’s a very impressive run for a young man who has limited F1 experience.”

The news comes ahead of the United States Grand Prix, where Perez is expected to have a huge amount of support from fans from his home country Mexico.

Speaking in an interview in Spanish, Perez said: “There are many more people that probably haven’t been good enough, especially this year. Mentally after what’s been said I’m ok, I have a lot of support from my country and that’s what helps me carry on.

“Yes I’m disappointed [with this season]. When your objectives are much higher than your results, we have a reason to be disappointed both me and the team.

“This is a great team, I have no doubt about it, but if I’m here next year there needs to be more organisation. Right now the car we have is to fight for points and the team has struggled to understand this.

“If I don’t drive for this team (McLaren) next year I have to study the best option and see what’s best for my future.”

Featured Video
Sign up for Jenson’s Triathlon today!
Featured News in mclaren
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

Common!!! Stop judging this stupid way! Every driver on the track depends 100% on the car… With the piece of shit McLaren offered this year to their drivers NAME THEM AS YOU WANT! NOBODY could have done much better! Why everyone here is talking about a “slow Perez”??? Sit Vettel or Alonso in the crappy McLaren and you will have the same result everytime… If they prefer another driver for 2014 is ok, but dont tell people bullshit like EVERYTHING is Perez fault. Shame on McLaren. Sorry for Magnussen, he just signed his retirement ending 2014 season. Good luck Withmarsh, you need it!


Maldonado has that Enstone seat in the bag I fear.


Is it me or is no one in the press believing that this Lotus – Quantum deal will actually happen? Everywhere I read, nothing but doubts.


Google Mansoor Ijaz, the Quantum front man. It makes for interesting, if not downright alarming, reading. Let’s just say he appears to be knee deep in the snake oil business.


It’s why Kimi left a team with the 2nd best car, for Ferrari.

All the promises since July about money being just around the corner – turns out to be false.

I thought Kimi was too hasty to leave before the finances were sorted. But now it’s clear that Kimi had info we don’t. It’s just been promises after another.

As Kimi put it – a line had to drawn sometime. Off for his back surgery!

Imagine the state of their 2014 car development if there is no money.


Yup. Kimi knew what time it was. Time to find an excuse and bail.


Apparently the deadline is November 15th . Writing appears to be on the wall that a driver with money will be joining.


Why not day after Interlagos, to give everyone hope for the season?


What is Telmex and Slim are still in play? What if Slim wants to sponsor…wait for it…Ferrari? Perez in next to Kimi, Alonso and Santander out at Ferrari in 2014? 😉


I never understand why people always bring up “when will Button will retire”, but there is never any mention about Alonso or Kimi retiring and they’re all basically the same age!

No one is saying he’s the best driver on the grid, but he’s a class act who delivered in 2009 and essentially matched ‘Tier 1’ Hamilton from 2010 – 2012.

He’s also probably the fittest driver on the grid. I don’t really understand the negativity some have towards him?


I’m not sure if I’ve missed this or not, but where’s Maldanado going? Why has he just dropped off of every F1 website over the last week? I’m not saying he’s better than Perez, but he’s actually won a race, and in a not very good car. And he brings the $$$. Shouldn’t we be talking about him just a little???


I think it’s generally accepted that if the Quantum thing fails to materialise at Lotus then Maldonado is their “Plan B”.


Last years Williams was a decent car.


Very interesting reading all these comments – some decent, some ridiculous…

Anyway, my take? This is the correct decision from McLaren. They know the numbers better than us, and they know that Perez doesn’t give them anything more than Button. They have more than one eye on 2015, they have to secure 2 topline drivers, they rate Kevin very highly – why not give him the drive?

As for Alonso in 2015, that’s not cut and dried at all. But its obvious they will move heaven and earth to try and get him, and that means 2014 is a straight fight for the 2nd seat.

So, how will it all flush out now? My predictions (aka guess!) is:

Lotus: Grosjean & Maldonado (money talks)

Force India: Hulkenburg & Perez

Sauber: Sirotkin & Sutil

Who knows though?


And for 2015 if Kimi wins another WDC in 2014 I think he’ll retire getting out of the way for Hulkenberg/Bianchi.


Its a shame Kobayashi is not in the frame for a 2014 drive – most entertaining…..


This was touched on earlier, if they are hell bent on getting Alonso will he have it in his contract who he has as a team mate? If Kevin looks a bit too tasty he may opt for Button, in which case mclaren could keep him under contract and let him get more experience with another team.

If Jenson or Alonso start to fade bring him back.

Still not sure that Alonso would ever move though so the 2014 proposed line up could carry them going forward.

Sorry for Perez, liked him but that’s F1, if you don’t shine, that’s it.


Alonso would not influence the driver line up . That’s a management decision.


I agree, but I wonder what lengths Mclaren will go to. Hopefully not that far.


Young lad, quick driver…on balance it’s fair play to McLaren for being decisive (I am a Checo fan – one mediocre season in a mediocre car doesn’t make him a bad driver at all. Hope he remains in F1). Reckon we’ll see a tidy profile piece here on the young Dane in the pre-season. Looking forward to that.


James what do you make of Maldonado as a driver?


Im afraid this young man is almost guaranteed to fail for a number of reasons.1st one is Mclaren underling problem, Button.His inability to lead a competive car development is evident now.2112 he went down a separate path and failed epically. 2113 after 17 races they no better off now than the 1st race in Australia.

2nd reason is Witmarsh blind spot for Button,he has never criticize Button in 4yrs,his can do wrong Button is stagnating the what will happen just like what happen with Perez is that Witmarsh will let Button take the early lead over Magnusen because he has more experience,and by the time we half way through the season he Button will be playing politics convincing the team to back him,cause he is the best chance for the few points they gonna score anyway.and guess who Witmarsh is gonna back.And voilla an underachieving Magnusen beaten by Button

As general rule in sport or music,anytime some is dubbed to be the next Lewis or Tiger even before they enter the industry is almost guaranteed to fail because times,the enviroment and circumstance are always different and so are we all.

Whats really gonna sink him is the pressure of performance.Thats what kill Perez,trying to be the next he took stupid over taking risk and over defened overdrove and lost allot of points.

Alot of false equivalencey to hamilton coming as rooki to Magnusen.firstly at that time Mclaren had two vacant seats.Alonso at that time coming to mclaren as the youngest double world champion,whos beaten the mighty shumacher was universerly undisputedly more regarded than Vettel is now.

Therefore puting Leiws in the 2nd car was bold and daring but not risky,given that every other alternative at time were long long way off Lewis speed.

Lewis didnt coming in expected to challenge Alonso,but Magnusen is gonna coming expecting to challenge Button.Perez caming talking about beating Button and taking this year championship.

The good news for Magnusen is that Mclaren will be too embarrass to sack him,after leting Lewis go,then Perez


Whitmarsh is a very political animal and going from this article and other stuff (dailymail etc) it looks like there are two different forces @ Mclaren (most likely more than 2) pulling in different directions – racers versus corporate. Jenson, good as he can be, does not race in an exciting way and lacks the one-lap speed that would garner headlines so i would assume it is the corporates who have his back.

Jenson major off-track strength is his BR media popularity which Whitmarsh, under pressure as he is, will want to exploit (not that anyone has told Paul Weaver of the Guardian who specialises in protecting Button at expense of digs at McLaren)

Thing is though Jenson does get criticised, sometimes even by Whitmarsh ( but only in a flip flop -i don’t want to rock the boat way). Jenson himself will never report himself, the media will never question him or follow the leads but there are signs that show him being reigned in, and quite frequently too.

1.Last season was about how “worst Mclaren car ” he has driven etc then beginning of the year he was all about how bad the car is& how it will not win races etc; the kind of comments no respectable engineering team would want to hear but not only was Jenson saying stuff to that effect he was not put under any pressure on the appropriateness of those comments – that tune has changed somewhat.

2.these contract negotiations he tried to be “clever” play a game he played the last time with “other team interest” McLaren did not fall for that again. it was then Jenson who was forced to “inform the media his contract was done” we know now that was a lie!

3.his admitting he was being mischievous over some contract comments made mid season.

4.Whitmarsh post race comments after Silverstone amounted to a “slap on the wrist” if you ask me but oh so subtle. Then for McLaren to follow up with the German GP preview in which they highlighted the Quali time difference between Hamilton and Button in 2011 – over a second? the same Hamilton certain staff couldn’t wait to scrub off their history beginning of the season?. well if that wasn’t a “kick up Button backside” then what is? that is around the time he stopped commenting on how bad the car was incidentally.

5.With all this declared interest in Alonso if that is not a backhanded indictment on the current drivers especially the lead one then someone tell me what is.

cos Jenson hasn’t been able to step up into a strong leadership role his position is considerably weak now. You just need to adjust and look out for the signs. Lewis was such a drama king on and off the track and the noise he generated was so loud that now people have forgotten how to pay attention to the subtle comments and non-comments that paint their own picture.

re: the magnussen deal – half the concern i have read in the comments has been about it being too soon for him but i have a different slant on this i think they, knowing it will a be a great coup IF he works, will choose to support him to make sure he is a success. I therefore do wonder if Jenson will be “allowed” to race to his strengths next season – will be fascinating and an indicator of the strength in the 2 diff factions.


Yet another time traveler???

From 100 years in the future this time…interesting, and yet the really amazing thing is how everything in the future seems to be so similar to today.

What’s the old saying: The more things change, the more they stay the same 😉


I don’t get how Hulk is continually overlooked. It’s fairly clear he’s a top driver, quick in qualifying and good points scorer. You don’t need reams of data to assess that. His obliterated everyone pre-F1 and deserves a top drive far more than the likes of some rookie, Perez or Maldonado.


He’s a top top top driver. If you’re from UK you’ll get it


Nah, everyone looks at him and then swipes someone else who is lighter everywhere but their wallet.

I’m with you – he absolutely should get a top drive but unfortunately it just never seems to fall into place for him.

Better luck in 2015 Hulk.


Good luck to Magnussen. Next year will be a huge adjustment for him but i am sure he will rise to the challenge.

Looks like Macca are going all out.

They have nothing to lose anyway.

Looks like Force India is the only best option for Perez. I dont see him going back to Sauber.

So most of the pieces are falling into place.

Awaiting to see what happens to Hulkenberg and Maldo.


Meanwhile Massa still has a drive…..


Watch Perez actually drive well this weekend and in Brazil – I am quite certain of it. These failed drivers like to save their own skin when it’s already almost too late.


I must be getting really old, really fast. It didn’t seem that long ago that Jan Magnussen was supposed to be the next big thing in Formula One …


Has anyone ever seen Jan Magnussen and Kevin Magnussen in the same room together. 😉

I thought the same too, turns out he was about 19 when he had the kid. Jan is 40, still younger than Schumi when he was racing in F1 – Imaging that eh, ‘Dad beats son to pole!’

Hope Jackie Stewart keeps his mouth shut this time and doesn’t call Kev the next Ayrton Senna!


I hope he’s better organised than his Dad. Ron Dennis lost faith in Jan when he couldn’t find his passport at a check in once and was rummaging around in a bag which was chaotically packed

In sharp contrast to Ron’s minimalist and perfect brief case…


The older you get the faster it goes…so you probably are 😉

Join the club, we have lawn bowls on Tuesdays 🙂


Seems a Strange Move in Someways considering the amount of Talk about McLaren/ Honda wanting Alonso for 2015. If they don’y see Button as a Long Term Prospect then why not let Perez and Magnussen fight for the seat by looking at their 2014 Performance. At the Moment they risk Developing Mags and then not having a Seat for him, or Dropping Button Despite his Experience and Popularity in Japan and with Honda. Or maybe Alonso for 2015 is off the Cards?


Although time will tell, i beleive this is a great move by Mclaren. Give some rookies a go and you mite find a Hamilton, circa 2007. bring a bit of excitment to F1.

Perez had his chance, move him on. In my opinion F1 teams hold on to drivers too long without performing so Magnussen is a welcome inclusion. Good luck to him


What if something happened between McLaren and Sergio’s sponsors? Such as McLaren asking for too much money for the title Sponsor otherwise threatening to drop Sergio “as he has not performed according to expectations”. Sergio’s sponsors are truly successful businessmen and actually think that McLaren´s performance has been very poor and biased to protect Button in ways such as “He just hit me up the back, calm him down.” Hence, McLaren´s offer is very expensive and decide to look elsewhere…Just bear in mind that Mr. Slim was actually thinking in buying…F1…but he is known to but cheap and sell when expensive…


I’m ecstatic to see what Magnussen can do in the McLaren. I expect he will go well and hope he can push Button into another team should Alonso decide to come to McLaren.

I was so worried going into this season that the title chase would have been spoiled by Perez crashing into the contenders, thank God McLaren didn’t have anything near their 2012 car!

Perez an unknown quantity? Please.

After McLaren announced Perez as their 2013 driver, his performance at Sauber fell off a cliff worse than Kimi’s Pirellis did in India.

He should be comprehensively beating Button by now, and that’s what Mclaren were looking for. Not go crash into your teammate and other top drivers to show “aggression”.

With this good news, I won’t be so sad when Lotus goes for that Venezuelan oil money…


Fingers crossed Hulkenberg and Sutil will be swopping seats!


Is it me, or do I only ever remember Perez passing Button on the track and not the other way around. Button as the “experienced head” has not helped develop this car at all well this season, they’ve been so not only because of the loss of Hamilton, but the feedback Hamilton must have given to the team.


I agree, Button has better overall numbers because he is consistent and experienced (and proved so against Hamilton), but when racing together Perez has been faster and passed him



I find it interesting how many British fans turned on Perez the second Mclaren signed him & have hurled hate on him ever since.

Everyone was saying he should replace Massa at Ferrari all last year, Then as soon as Hamilton left McLaren & Perez was announced as his replacement all of the same people who were praising him when it looked like he was off to Ferrari were suddenly saying he wasn’t good enough for a top seat?

Why the sudden change? If he was good enough to deserve a ride at Ferrari (A top team) why was he suddenly not good enough for Mclaren (A top team)?


I think you are missing something. Ferrari said that he wasn’t experienced enough so they were going to wait and see. I don’t remember that everyone said that he should replace Massa this year (even the Fox Sports guys who are in love with Perez).


I’ve been thinking about this a lot and the main conclusion I come to is that there was a misjudgement by McLaren of what level they expected Sergio Perez to be at. They obviously expected him to be a lot closer to the finished product than they have found him to be.

In a sense it is a ruthless decision because, let’s face it, this hasn’t been a great McLaren car and it was never going to be easy, contextually, for Sergio to move mountains. At the same time, it is undoubtedly true that Sergio hasn’t made a compelling case to McLaren for keeping him on. He strikes me as a somewhat streaky driver; Bahrain and India this year were really strong performances but he’s also had a couple of pretty disappointing races and Jenson Button has had the upper hand on the whole.

He perhaps has been harshly treated to an extent and if there is a defence of Checo it might be that, from what I’ve read in some quarters (perhaps rumours only of course), some factions within the team were never really convinced by him anyway and so perhaps did not go out of their way to ensure he settled, particularly once the car wasn’t competitive. And if they don’t rate him now, would he be a dead man walking in 2014 if he stayed with the team anyway?

Either way I do like the guy and wish him well in future. Hopefully he’ll stay in F1 and hopefully he’ll give us a few really good performances to savour.

Top Tags