Perez announces his McLaren exit
Sergio Perez has confirmed he will not drive at McLaren next year in an open letter published via his Twitter account and personal website.
Although it has not been made official, Perez is set to be replaced by McLaren young driver Kevin Magnussen in 2014, leaving him with the difficult task of securing another drive at late notice. In the letter (published in full below) Perez said "I will be looking at my future to ensure my position in the best possible package to fight for wins".
McLaren issued a response from team principal Martin Whitmarsh (also published below) thanking Perez and saying a replacement driver has not yet been signed.
Perez admitted as recently as the Indian Grand Prix that he had not been talking to other teams about 2014, so sure was he that his McLaren contract would be renewed. Vacancies remain at Lotus, Force India, Sauber, Caterham and Marussia.
Sergio Perez's letter in full:
"First of all, I would like to thank McLaren for giving me the opportunity to be with them this season. It has been an honour for me to have been in one of the most competitive teams in the sport and I do not regret even a bit having joined them. I have always given the best of me for the team and still despite this I could not achieve what I aimed for in this historic team.
"I am committed to deliver very good results in these last two races, especially Austin. I am so much looking forward to see all my people gathered together, feel their energy and show them the best of me. I would like to say to every single one of my fans around the world and in my country that I am eternally grateful to them. They have never let me down, especially in difficult moments like these. I truly appreciate their support, they have never forgotten me.
"I have met a lot of new people at McLaren this season and I have made many good friends as well. From the top management level to the marketing, accounting and engineering departments to the mechanics, the catering people and basically everyone in the team, I am eternally grateful to them. It has been a learning experience for me.
"I would like to wish the team the very best in the future. I will always be a fan of McLaren. In the meanwhile I will be looking at my future to ensure my position in the best possible package to fight for wins.
"Thanks to McLaren and all of its partners of this season, you can rest assured that I will never give up."
McLaren boss Whitmarsh responded with the following statement:
"First of all, we would like to thank Checo for his kind and gracious statement, and for being a fine team member during the 2013 Formula One season. There are still two grands prix yet to run this year, and our collective focus is on scoring as many points as we can in those two remaining races.
"Checo has made many friends during his time at McLaren - and, together, as a team, we intend to do our utmost to help him finish his year with us with two good results, especially here in Austin, where he has so many fans. We wish him well for the future, and are sure that he will have many successes ahead of him.
"As regards our driver line-up for next year, no 2014 deal has yet been signed with any driver except Jenson, and we therefore have nothing further to announce at this time. As and when that situation progresses, we will make a further announcement accordingly."