With the news that Lewis Hamilton
is to move to Mercedes for the 2013 F1 season, McLaren
has confirmed the signing of Sergio Perez as the replacement for the 2008 title winner.
Perez will make the switch from Sauber after an impressive campaign that has seen him make three trips to the podium after strong drivers in Malaysia, Canada and Italy.
The 22-year-old has agreed what the team described as a 'multi-year deal' and will join forces with Jenson Button
in a driver line-up that will give the Woking-based team a strong blend of youth and experience for the season ahead.
“On behalf of everyone at Vodafone McLaren
Mercedes, I'm delighted to welcome Sergio on board,” team boss Martin Whitmarsh said. “His performances throughout 2012 have convinced us that he's an extremely exciting prospect for the future.
“It was a string of giant-killing performances, a trio of podiums and a brilliant fastest lap in this year's Monaco Grand Prix
that showed us that Sergio lacks nothing in terms of speed and commitment. We've been monitoring his progress carefully for some months - and, now that he's become part of the Vodafone McLaren
Mercedes team, our task will be to refine and develop his abilities as his career progresses over the coming years.
“Uniting Sergio alongside Jenson will give us a very broad base of driver ability. Jenson is one of motorsport's greatest ambassadors, and his unique blend of prodigious speed and canny race-craft makes him formidably well-armed to fight for victory on any grand prix circuit in the world. While Sergio is still developing his palette of skills, we're convinced that he's not only talented and quick, but also that he's willing and eager to learn.
“He's perfectly poised to develop into a world championship challenger. His addition to the Vodafone McLaren
Mercedes team provides us with the perfect two-pronged driver line-up for the new season.”
Perez, who has been a member of Ferrari's Driver Academy in recent seasons, said he was delighted to have been given the opportunity to join the multiple championship-winning team.
“I'm thrilled and delighted to have become a Vodafone McLaren
Mercedes driver,” he said. “The McLaren
name is one of the greatest in the history of Formula 1. For more than 40 years McLaren
has been a team that every racing driver has aspired to drive for – I was brought up on the great stories of Ayrton Senna's many world championship triumphs for McLaren
– and I'm truly honoured that they've chosen me to partner Jenson from 2013 onwards.”