Sergio Perez has secured his place on the 2014 F1 grid following the announcement that he is to join the Sahara Force India team next season.
The deal, announced in an event at the Mexican Embassy, will see the 23-year-old join Nico Hulkenberg in an all-new line-up, with both Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil losing their drives with the Silverstone-based squad.
Perez will make the move to Force India seeking to bounce back from a challenging 2013 season, where a move to McLaren failed to deliver the expected results – with the team ultimately electing to replace him with Kevin Magnussen after just a single year.
Having insisted he was still confident of finding a drive, Perez has now agreed a 'multi-year' deal with Force India that will see him join forces with Hulkenberg, who confirmed his return to the team
from Sauber last week.
“It's great to announce my new team as Sahara Force India,” Perez said. “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.
“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. My plan now is to visit the factory and get to know everyone in the team.”
Team boss Vijay Mallya meanwhile said he was delighted with his new look pairing, and was confident that Perez would be a strong addition to the line-up as the team aims to impress in the first year of F1's new regulations.
“It's a pleasure to welcome Sergio to the team,” he said. “He brings a healthy mix of youth and experience, and I've been very impressed with his recent performances. He already has several podium finishes to his name and being chosen by McLaren last year was a clear indication that he is a driver to watch for the future. We also recognise Sergio's incredible talent and we are proud to have him in our team.
“He clearly has great speed and plenty of fire in his belly. Our job is to make sure he settles in quickly by creating the right atmosphere so that he can realise his potential. By pairing Sergio alongside Nico, we enter the new season with an extremely competitive line-up, which will go toward helping us achieve our goals for the new season.”
The announcement leaves both di Resta and Sutil looking at their options for 2014, with di Resta having previously stated that he was taking to Sauber
about next season, with a return to the DTM also possible.