Sat, Dec 14, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Sergio Perez joins Force India; pairs with Hulkenberg

AFP, LONDON

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 driver team for next year, with Nico Hulkenberg last month confirmed as the other racer.

Force India said 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 lineup alongside Nico Hulkenberg and helps create one of the most exciting pairings on the grid.”

Perez picked up just 35 points during this year, 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 did not feel McLaren were capable of that.

However, 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,” Perez added.

Perez had earned his move to McLaren, to replace the Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton, by finishing three times on the podium for Sauber last year.

However, the entire McLaren team struggled throughout this year.

Perez is to bring significant financial support to Force India because he is sponsored by Mexican telecommunications company Telmex, which just happens to be owned by Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world.

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