Perez takes Hamilton’s place at McLaren for 2013

2013 F1 season

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Sergio Perez, Sauber, 2012Sergio Perez will drive for McLaren in 2013 after the team announced a “multi-year” deal with the Sauber driver.

Perez will take the place of Lewis Hamilton, who is widely believed to be about to confirm a move to Mercedes.

A trio of podium finishes in his second season so far has marked Perez out as a driver of the future.

“I?m thrilled and delighted to have become a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver,” said Perez.

“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 ?ǣ I was brought up on the great stories of Ayrton Senna’s many world championship triumphs for McLaren ?ǣ and I’m truly honoured that they’ve chosen me to partner Jenson from 2013 onwards.”

Perez added: “I’d like to thank Carlos Slim Jr, who has helped me since I was 14 years old, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today.

“Our journey together over the past eight years has been an incredible one, and I’ll do everything in my power to deliver with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes the results that he and I have been working so hard and so long to achieve together.

“As I say, I’ve worked very hard to get to this stage in my career, and I’m now massively looking forward to this next even more exciting stage. It’s fantastic that all the sacrifices I’ve made are now paying off.

“For example, I remember very clearly the first day I left my family, when I was 15, to live in Germany to race in Formula BMW. It was tough for me – I was sleeping in a restaurant at that time – but the dream of one day becoming a Formula 1 driver kept me going through those difficult days.

“Finally, I’d like to thank my beloved family, who’ve encouraged me at every turn, and last but far from least the people of Mexico, my home country, whose magnificent support I’ll do my very best to reward with future successes with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.”

“Giant-killing performances”

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “On behalf of everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, I?m delighted to welcome Sergio on board. 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.”

Whitmarsh also paid tribute to his outgoing driver: “Finally, it’s entirely appropriate that I should take this opportunity to pass on our thanks to Lewis. He wrote a huge chapter of his life and career with us, and was, and always will be, a fine member of an exclusive club: the McLaren world champions’ club.

“It goes without saying that we all wish him well for the future, just as it also goes without saying that we hope and believe that Sergio, too, will become a member of that exclusive club before too long.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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247 comments on “Perez takes Hamilton’s place at McLaren for 2013”

  1. Perez gets the chance of his life. Time to deliver, Sergio.

    1. Oh, isnt he cute, he just signed, but he already uses the word massively in the most unexpected places. good for him.

      1. isnt he cute

        He undoubtedly is.

      2. Hilarious !

        1. You know what would be great, Schumacher driving for Sauber, and instead Sauber paying Schumacher, he should invest 50 million a year for the development of the car. That Sauber car is amazing this year and when everything is focussed on Schumacher he can still perform. People seem to have forgot that he is currently ahead in qualifying: schumacher 9 – rosberg 7 and his performance in a couple of races has been quite good. We don’t want Schumacher to leave, it’s normal that he isn’t as good as before, but he isn’t as bad as some believe.

          1. Hear, hear, would love to see Schumacher at Sauber.

    2. Perez is the only winner of Driver of the Weekend this year not to have scored a race win – and he’s topped the poll twice:

      Second Driver of the Weekend win for Perez at Monza

      He also won Driver of the Weekend for his first ever F1 race:

      Who was the best driver of the Australian Grand Prix weekend?

      Good choices by F1 Fanatic readers, it seems!

      1. i think its an exciting news for all f1 fans… Seeing Ham in Mclaren for 5 yrs now has been a bit boring to be honest..Also all the great drivers in F1 has switched to different teams and proved their worth by winning championships with them.. I think winning with more than one team adds more credibility to a drivers talents and makes him a great one..Kudos to Hamilton for making a bold move..Though its a one in which there is a risk of Ham not winning from the start, i think its a risk worth taking

        1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
          28th September 2012, 10:55

          + 1Million

        2. It will be hard for him to win from the start.. but I think eventually he will win next year.. We’ve seen him qualify half a second clear of everybody this year so it should be a problem for his first win to arrive…
          I also wish success to him so it shows to the general public that drivers actually make a difference!

        3. Agreed. For me, next season just got very fascinating.

          Can Lewis still be a qualifying maestro in a car unlikely to be a top performer?

      2. @keithcollantine

        Martin Whitmarsh probably noticed his driver of the weekend awards. :P

    3. Best wishes for Perez.. Not many drivers get to drive for a top team very early in their career..Perez certainly deserves the mclaren drive and Ferrari i think are the big losers here unless they have vettel planned for 2014

    4. Now, Massa to Sauber. Di Resta/Hulkenberg to Ferrari. Alguersuari to Force India. PLEASE!

      Changes to the driver market are so important to us fans. It gives us our only real chance to gauge the relative talents of the drivers. I’m a big Di Resta fan but if he doesn’t get the Ferrari drive I really hope Hulkenberg gets it because that way we’ll at least get to see Di Resta up against a new opponent (who he’ll hopefully wipe the floor with!) and we’ll also get to see how someone who he’s outpaced does in a top team.

      1. Changes to the driver market are so important to us fans. It gives us our only real chance to gauge the relative talents of the drivers.

        Well said. It’s for that reason that I’m excited about these changes, even though I’m disappointed to see the end of the Hamilton-McLaren partnership. After the huge excitement of its first two years, I expected a lot more from it, and I’m surprised that Hamilton is leaving the team with only the one championship to his name. It seems unlikely now that he will win it again this year; rather than having everyone in the team working for him, they are now more likely to shift their attention to 2013.

    5. This is the greatest news I have heard all year! Perez for WDC in 2013 (provided McLaren give him a good enough car)!!!

  2. Wow! Shocked. I don’t think we know the whole story??

    1. OH and to all those who mocked and ridiculed Eddie Jordan’s news … haha

      1. Yeah, but this is EJ we’re talking about, I think he also tipped a Bernd Maylander move to Ferrari to replace Massa? ;) (And if he didn’t, he should!).

        1. Well lets be fair Bernd Maylander has led more laps of an F1 race than Massa so you could be on to something !

  3. RIP Lewis Hamilton’s F1 Career :/

    1. If the dream team at Mercedes don’t come through Lewis is going to look very greedy and foolish.

      1. i think he already does

        1. Foolish at least. However he’s used to bad adjectives… arrogant, petulant, childish, stupid, aggressive

          Disclaimer: I don’t think it’s wrong to make career decisions based on money. But I disapprove when money is the only factor which should not be the case.

          1. I dont think money was the Only Factor, McLaren wouldnt let him keep any of his trophies, plus he gets on very well with ex team mate Rosberg and is adored by Norbert Haug. I can see many reasons aswell as the money for the move. Not sure how the Reebok tie in on Lewis’ side is going to gel with the current Puma deal with Mercedes??

          2. @justingt5 I don’t think it’s all about money either. Haug’s presence certainly played a part. Plus, I don’t think Hamilton is either arrogant or childish.

          3. @spawinte, foolish? Why? Because the team won’t destroy his races again? Did you count how many times Mclaren destroied his races, this year? If Ross Brawn will remain at Mercedes, I think Hamilton choosed the best available team. I am a Raikkonen fan and I remember how much a race destroyer, for his pilots, Mclaren is. This year was a deja-vu.

          4. @sorin

            Oh yeah, I forgot that the entirety of the Mclaren team works year in year out to destroy the drivers races that they signed for millions of dollars.

            /end sarcasm/

            Sorry, but really? How can you type that?

          5. @mike
            Sorry, but, this is my conclusion. How is possible to have such a poor reliability for so many years, when you are investing so much. Ok, Mclaren is fast, but too much DNF’s and problems. They should have more than one championships(only Hamilton), from Hakkinen to present. They had fast drivers, fast cars…and one championship. I tried to be a Mclaren fan, but I never succeded.

        2. To be honest, I think that is exactly what many said and wrote when Schumi announced moving to Ferrari for ’96, and we all know how that one turned out.

    2. @realf1underground
      I wouldn’t say that just yet. Look at Schumi’s move to Ferrari in ’96. Besides having Schu and Rosberg developing the car for next year will help, along with the Haug/Brawn duo. Who says they won’t have a killer car next year? Williams were written off at the start of this year and they’ve won a race, and Ferrari’s car wasnt up to standard in Melbourne. Who knows what Merc have in the bag?

      1. ” wouldn’t say that just yet. Look at Schumi’s move to Ferrari in ’96.”

        Not just that, Alonso moved to Mclaren on the back of winning double titles with Renault, then moved to a very uncompetitive Renault after Mclaren.

        Alonso written off 2008-2010 until a seat became available at his dream team Ferrari (where he still didnt win for 2 + years)

        Im sure Hamiltons eyes are on the long-term, not the money.

    3. Many said the same thing when Alonso left McLaren.

  4. A sensible choice by McLaren and I’m sure this is another indication that we’ll see Vettel at Ferrari in 2014. If Perez is mature enough for a Hamilton-less McLaren, he cannot be too immature for a Ferrari, there’s another reason why Ferrari didn’t want him.

    1. Telegraph says Lewis will sign a 3 years contract with Mercedes, I guess his representatives are eyeing Ferrari just in case Mercedes doesn’t work out…

      1. BBC have already confirmed it is true. Hours ago in fact.

        1. Mercedes is done deal. I’m speculating about possible move to Ferrari if Mercedes fails to give Lewis a WDC contender in 3 years.

    2. Hate to take anything away from Perez, but I’m surprised nobody’s, including @grits, did not factor in the ‘Carlos Slim’ factor here.

      Mclaren dont have a title sponsor for next year. And guess what business Carlos Slim has major money invested in – Telecom!! The same portfolio as Vodafone!

      So, despite my personal opinion being that Nico Hulkenberg is so much more a mature driver with being fast, as is di Resta, Perez seems to have tipped the equation in his favor by being impressive, many times immature, but importantly also with a Sugar Daddy.

      Again, nothing to take away from Perez, but based on a pure-performance perspective, the Force India driver are a better talent, IMO!

      1. Hmm, I’d say this is true to an extent.

        He has almost won two races this year on merit alone.
        Neither of the Force India’s have shown anything like that performance, and I’m a Nico fan.

        You have to respect Nico for going without big backers, but Perez has earned it.

      2. Yeah right a paid driver ? Sour grapes !!!

  5. Congratulations to Checo, looking forward to seeing him beating the Ferraris, and I’m pleased this was the first announcement.

    It’ll probably need a piece by Mark Hughes or Peter Windsor, but I wonder if Perez and Button’s driving styles complement each other when it comes to developing and setting up a car? It’ll surely be an improvement over the first part of this year when JB looked lost.

    1. @bullfrog My first thought is: who brings the one-lap pace?

      Button has been comprehensively out-qualified by Hamilton this year (and previous years):

      Jenson Button 2012 form guide

      And Perez’s stats against Kobayashi aren’t great:

      Sergio Perez 2012 form guide

      1. @keithcollantine interesting. I think Jenson will be the one but that young Mexican will not be easy to beat on Sundays.

        I feel sorry for Peter Sauber, I fear he’s lost Telmex financial support.

        1. So who takes Perez’s place? Is it the Telmex-backed Esteban Gutierrez or is it Charles Pic or Heikki Kovalainen? Or someone else????

        2. I think he was however generously compensated bij Martin Whitmarch for Perez’s switch

          1. Maybe less money, because it’s being reported in Brazil that Telmex/Claro is to become McLaren’s title sponsor and that’s their big change for more airtime and odds of making Sergio Perez a world champion are visible so expect Carlos Slim to put lots of energy and money into McLaren.

        3. They still have Gutierrez in the team as their test/reserve so they may still get something from his presence? I think Peter Sauber is clever enough not to take the risk of putting him in a race seat yet though.

        1. isnt button already in the car?

          1. not in the 2013 car.

        2. @bag0 @keithcollantine I think this is actually a reasonable answer to the question. Perez will be getting paid much less per year than Hamilton has for his duration at Mclaren and he will probably bring a hefty sum of sponsorship money to Mclaren with him by proxy through his links with Carlos Slim Jr. The difference in costs will be massive; leaving plenty of “extra” money that could be reinvested into car development to claw back or even surpass the 2-3 tenths average defecit in pace that Button has to Hamilton in qualifying.

      2. If the top 10 tyre rule goes next year then Perez will be in for a nasty surprise.
        What more can I say? Freaky Friday strikes again!!!!!

      3. I believe it would be very close. still Button has shown much impressive laps than Perez. Just not much against Hamilton though.

      4. button can do the one lap wonder, just not with any consistency. I think this is a great pairing from a constructor’s point of view, two drivers who can race well and won’t put it in the wall in the process.

        1. Or he can do it only with an awesome car, yeah. Might see McLaren back to their not so perfect on Saturday again.

      5. @keithcollantine I beleive, if Button’s dialled in with the car, he has no problem challenging for pole. Look how close he came to getting pole position at Suzuka last year :)

        1. if Button’s dialled in with the car, he has no problem challenging for pole.

          If you dial in once or twice a year.. then you better take pole

      6. I think that in accusing Button of lacking one-lap pace you’re making the mistake of only really comparing him to Hamilton, who is either the best or second best qualifier on the grid behind Vettel. Button’s performances at BAR/Honda/Brawn suggest he’s got pretty reasonable one-lap pace, if not up there with the absolute Saturday experts.

        1. I think Button’s problem is not about 1lap pace, as honestly only 1 driver can be on pole. It is the fact that he finds it difficult when a car isn’t working well. This was how Button got to lose this years championship after the first 3 races, because when the car was having issues, it affected him performance.

  6. Ferrari really dropped the ball on this one. But its ok, maybe they can bang on about 3 cars teams a bit more in the hope that no-one will notice.

    Anyway, Nice one Sergio! World Champion next year?

    1. World Champion next year?

      Doubt such an easy-going, joyful person like Sergio would fit in such a rigid place like McLaren. Just imagine him tricking his McLaren race engineer like he did at Sauber. I expect him to soon join the exclusive “I found happiness after leaving McLaren” Club along with Coulthard, Kimi, Alonso and now Lewis.

      1. Just imagine him tricking his McLaren race engineer like he did at Sauber

        It was a joke and affected nothing. You’re taking it way too seriously.

  7. Fantastic!

  8. Interesting. I thought this announcement would be out after Hamilton-Mercedes announcement. It seems Mclaren decided to move actively.

    As for Perez, best wishes for him. I know he has talent but Mclaren is not easy task for everybody. We will see he can deliver or break.

    As for Hamilton, I think this is great move for himself and the sport. There was demand foe some shuffle and Hamilton did it. Also for himself, he can establish his own team even though he might not be able to win as many as when he was in Mclaren.

    Good news.

    1. AFAIK this came AFTER Mercedes announced Lewis was joining them this morning.

  9. At least we get some fresh excitement in the driver line up for 2013. Although it pains me that Eddie Jordan was the original source of this ‘rumour’ going public (Lewis to Merc). We’ll never hear the end of it.
    I think Lewis is the greatest but I would love nothing more than for Perez, a great and very likeable driver, to become WDC in 2013. Suck on that Montezemelo!

    1. Jenson likes reading blogs, I guess he’d hate this comment :)

  10. It’ll be fun to watch him outpace Jenson. Sergio does appear to be the quicker driver, seems kind to his tires & can only get better with experience IMO.

    1. Yeah, just as Lewis ate him for brakfast… (sarcasm)

  11. Great news for Perez.
    Not so for Hamilton, I think the move to Mercedes will be a backwards step, as Mercedes hasn’t really been able to provide a top level car for the past couple of years.
    Also, does that mean Schumacher won’t be driving next year?

    1. Schumacher currently doesn’t have a drive. There is obviously now a seat at sauber, and possibly a seat at Ferrari (although he wouldn’t go back there with Alonso surely?!) and possibly more, depending on the rest of the driver changes. If he can’t grab one of those seats then no, he will not be driving next year.

      1. I could definitely see him going to either Sauber or Ferrari to ‘return the favour’, respectively.

        At Ferrari, I rekon he’d happilly play second fiddle to Fernando, a guy he seems to respect (and vice-versa). Plus, it’d be a great ‘thank you’ for the treatment he got during his 5 World Championship wins, as well as creating a wave of excitement through the Tifosi. Then you think about the money it’d generate… Also, I rekon Schumacher would quite fancy driving a Ferrari again over the hit-and-miss nature of the Mercedes. They at least seem to be there or there abouts.

        Then you look at Sauber. Peter Sauber gave Schumacher his break in sportscars, which eventually lead him to Formula One. It’d be another good opportunity to say thank you, and drive a car that’s arguably more competitive than the one he drives this season.

        Ball’s in Schumacher’s court, from where i’m standing.

        1. Well said.

  12. Great news, both for Perez and Hamilton. The latter can really build the team around him like Alonso did Ferrari, with all the people currently under contract at Mercedes they must be able to build a race-winning car. It’s a bit odd they brought this news out before Hamilton announced his move though, but I guess McLaren want to seem confident. Really, really excited about this news!

    1. why is it odd, its sensible and obvious. Lewis has tried to out do his team last few years…it wasnt going to happen this time.

      they did the same in 06. they announced kimi going before ferrari announced he was going there

    2. The latter can really build the team around him like Alonso did Ferrari

      After Alonso’s exit he had all the time in the world to “fold” McLaren around him. I don’t understand why didn’t he do that. He somehow managed to do so in 2008 and 2009 but since Button arrived it all went wrong for him. I suspect Martin Withmarsh was too fervourous to show the world that McLaren wasn’t Lewis’ team after he signed Button and that made Ham feel betrayed. I understand why Lewis turned his back at them – it must be pretty offending to be put at the same level to such an ‘understeering’ driver like Button.

      1. Klass, i do agree with you entirely and postes a similar blog last week !, and got poo pood, by some !its all a shame but i feel that lewis was frozen out, [given the cold shoulder] as they say. and he said “up yours guys i:me off “or similar, they went too far and he lewis called their bluff, top man !!

  13. Can’t believe Ferrari allowed this to happen though, I can’t imagine anyone sane favouring Massa over Perez. Come on now.

    1. Actually it can be quite reasonable favoring Massa. Might not so pure motivation though.

    2. All the rumours suggest Ferrari want Vettel for 2014 alongside Alonso. Bearing that in mind it makes sense to keep Massa or a slower driver alongside Alonso for 2013, rather than somone like Perez who would presumably want equal treatment, and a multi year deal.

    3. @roald
      Actually Ferrari favouring Massa over Perez, looking at how their team is structured around Alonso, is a compliment to Perez and a “average driver” certificate to Massa.
      Ferrari wants a number two driver who doesn’t challenge Alonso and would be okay with his supporting role. Sergio Perez would not fit their requirements and their structure would suffer and eventually bring out the worst of Alonso personality again, they believe they can win this way so why risk bust their “happy bubble?”.
      In 2017 Perez will be a established driver and eventually with one or two WDC to his name, ready to join Ferrari pairing with retirement-bound Fernando Alonso.

    4. Ferrari know what they’re doing. If they weren’t having any prospects for 2014, they would have signed Perez themselves. Montezemolo knows something we don’t and I’m really starting to believe that pre-contract between Vettel and Ferrari regarding 2014 actually exists.

      Ferrari didn’t get Perez because with Vettel on route, they would have destroyed Checo’s career. And they don’t want that. They want him to replace Alonso when he’s through with it. :)

    5. The loyalty Ferrari continues to show to Massa still baffles me, despite his recent improvement in form. Most of the speculation is that this relates to getting Vettel in the car at some point, but I can’t believe that Ferrari can’t pick up another good driver on any term of contract they want – there aren’t that many drivers on the grid who wouldn’t take a punt on a one-year contract at Ferrari. They all believe themselves to be the best, and one year in a Ferrari should allow them to showcase their talent and pick up another good race seat thereafter.

      I wonder if their problem goes back to the Massa replacements drafted in back in 2009 which showed that some of the drivers we might considered pretty quick (Badoer and Fisi) could turn a race winning car into a backmarker. With Massa they have a known quantity which might not be WDC standard any more but until they are absolutely certain they have a top quality replacement (e.g. Vettel) they prefer to stick with him. We all assume that they need a better 2nd driver to fight for the constructors championship but maybe they know that the car isn’t deserving of the WCC. So their options are:

      (1) Keep Massa and focus on giving him and Alonso a better car to fight for WCC, also keeps Alonso happy and gives chance of WDC
      (2) Take a risk in replacing Massa with only a slightly improved chance of winning WCC but with the risk that the driver is actually slower than Massa and/or unsettles Alonso.

      1. I think they can find a driver that is quicker than Massa without having to look too far. Right now Di Resta, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Kovalainen, Glock, Ricciardo and Kobayashi are all quicker than Massa.

        I think it would be stupid to let Felipe stay another year. A good number 2 driver is supposed to take points of rivals… something Felipe hasn’t been able to do.

        1. Bottas?! Seriously. So a guy who has never even started a grand prix is now arguably quicker than Massa?

          Massa may never again be the WDC contender he once was, but let’s at least give him a little respect!

          Lest we forget that he has still to this date won more races for Ferrari than Alonso has or Kimi managed to.

          1. Lest we forget that he has still to this date won more races for Ferrari than Alonso has or Kimi managed to.

            That’s something I never really thought about and quite an amazing fact given that Massa scored all of his Ferrari wins in his first three years at the team (2006-2008). Unless Fernando gets three race wins this year then Massa will have at least as good a record of race wins in his first three years in a Ferrari (even with Alonso’s gifted win in 2010).

      2. I’m not entirely sure that loyalty is there for Massa at Ferrari. Ferrari were having talks with Webber earlier in the year. I think there will be a change at Ferrari next year. My mouth waters at the thought of Schumacher making a return to Ferrari but somehow I doubt it considering his less than stellar return to F1. I’d love to see Glock make the move to Ferrari also. I think if there is anything we can take from these driver moves is that it’ll be another RBR WCC title next year.

    6. I still don’t understand all the rumours about Vettel moving to Ferrari in ’14 – when have Ferrari ever shown any interest in having two drivers compete for race wins, and if the trend continues who will be asked to move aside for the other? I don’t see Alonso/Vettel at Ferrari.

      1. +1. I don’t see that happening either. Ferrari will never have Vettel and Alonso at the same time. I can’t imagine seeing Vettel play second fiddle to Alonso. OR vice versa.

      2. Villeneuve-Pironi maybe ? It ended baddly. Eveytime there is 2 number ones, it ends baddly (Hamilton-Alonso, Piquet-Mansell, Prost-Senna). Onley Button-Hamilton is working, but Button is not a true number 1. I do not see Vettel-Alonso, looks impossible. But i can see Alonso-Shumacher for one year, it would be the most fantastic things F1 can have, like a Lauda-Prost in theses days, the utlimate fight.

        1. Alonso would beat Schumacher comfortably. It really wouldn’t be close.

  14. wow, we kind of expected this after all the rumours but now I’m shocked, didn’t really think Lewis would actually leave McLaren. This may be good for him.

    1. dont know! I think lewis has shot himself in the foot, have a feeling the Mac team signed Perez a couple of weeks ago!

  15. I can’t wait to see this, bring on 2013!

  16. I am shocked, i think that Lewis may have made the worst carreer decision yet!

    1. Actually this is only his second career decision :)

  17. GREAT NEWS. It was time for Schumi to leave, and this is a great oportunitie to the best driver in the grid that has not win a championship. I’ll bet Perez will be champion more than once!. I think Hamilton like a Manselll of these tiimes, he deserves more, but I think he will have only one championship.

  18. Thrilled for Perez. I remember meeting him in Australia this year, and telling him “I hoped he’d get a Podium or two”. Boy has he exceeded that.

    Will be VERY interesting to see how Hamilton gets on at Mercedes, will he look very smart or very greedy come 2014? Imagine if Checo beats him in the 2013 WDC.

    1. That’s exactly what’s on my mind.If Perez wins the WDC in 2013.That will surely be a big blow for Lewis.

  19. Hamilton, in my opinion, has made a bad decision there. Perez will be laughing all the way to the top step of the podium. Good luck to him!

  20. Brilliant. McLaren have effectively called Ham’s bluff. And Ham has been scammed by his agent who prefers the short term commissions and don’t care about Ham’s long term career. What it does show is that, for all his obvious qualities, Ham is not the sharpest tool in the box, which clearly is the difference between talented drivers and talented drivers with 3/4 WDC to their names. I doubt Ham will win more than 2 at best.

    1. @nickfrog

      McLaren have effectively called Ham’s bluff.

      Most likely Hamilton’s deal has already been done.

    2. Michael Schumacher did basically the same thing as Lewis in 1996, and look out how that turned out. Don’t you think its a bit early to start bashing Hamilton, he hasn’t even turned a wheel in anger yet!

      1. @debaser91 Exactly. And, as Adam Cooper said on Twitter, it’s not as if Hamilton has joined HRT.

        1. @girts Pls what’s Adam Cooper’s twitter handle?

      2. ferrari always challenged for wins , despite what f1 reporters or people who never watched f1 then will tell you.

        1. Don’t be patronising, I know a fair bit about the sports history thank you very much. More than you it seems otherwise you would know that from 1991-1995 before Schumacher joined, Ferrari were in a right state. The facts are that during those five years they won two races. Two. I would maybe even argue Mercedes are in better shape now than Ferrari were back then, they certainly have the right people assembled to make a competitive car, the only trouble being it is a lot more competitive nowadays at the top. Ross Brawn however is someone who knows what he is doing, I would not be surprised in the slightest if Mercedes had a quick car straight out of the box in 2014, or even next year.

          1. You are forgetting the key ingredient; Lewis Hamilton is no Michael Schumacher. Lewis is good no doubt, great even. He has some of the best one lap pace and some of the greatest overtaking skills ever seen, but I don’t think he has the sheer strength of will, of character, nor the dedication and outright commitment that made Schumi so successful.

          2. but it’s true that Ferrari even challenges for win. They had management problem in 80’s and 90′ following the Villeneuve-Pironi pair, the english combination Barnard Mansell did not work, Prost was a containder one year and after that The Alesi-Berger fired by Jean Todt who rebuilt the team. Everybody knew that it will happen sooener or later. Mercedes can be forever a midfield car with some high, like BMW or Toyota or Renault, and retires after a while, we don’t know. Many people talk about 2014, but i do not understand why, why the situation will change ? The car is about aerodynamics, and everybody has the same engine (Renault, Mercedes, Ferrari). Only Ferrari has always be better than other teams equipped with the same engine. Why McLaren with the 2014 engine will be slower than Mercedes ?

  21. Hope he will kick some Ferrari **** next season, to the dismay of Montezemolo :)

  22. So Hamilton won’t have his entire F1 career at one team after all… and what’s the most races anyone’s had at a team from the start of a career?

    1. Because obviously Schumacher’s 11 years at Ferrari is one of the longest stints at a team in general (after a few years at Jordan and Benetton), so he can’t take that one, but has anyone been at a team for more than 6 years from the start of their career?

      1. I’m 99% sure that Hamilton holds the record for length of time spent with initial team in f1..

        By the way this is excellent news!! Now Schumacher just needs to take Massa’s or Grosejeans seat and then I’ll be ecstatic!

        1. Heck yea, we still don’t know about Schumacher. There is still chance he will remain at Mercedes. Otherwise, Ferrari and Lotus sound like good proposition. As much as I hated him in his previous incarnation, I badly want him to win a few races (and maybe the WDC) for the sake of fairy tales.

        2. Peter Sauber has apparently stated he would welcome MSC with open arms

        3. I don’t want to see Schumi boot out Massa and then be forced to play second fiddle to Alonso. It would be a sad day in F1 when the driver who brought Ferrari its brightest glory found himself subservient to someone who is merely attempting to copy that magic formula and thus far to a less successful degree.

          Alonso has been with Ferrari for 52 races now and has 9 wins with the team. That sounds impressive until you count that by Schumacher’s 52nd race with Ferrari he had notched up 15.

          Now…Schumacher partnered up with Kimi at Lotus, that would be something to see!!!!!!

      2. @alexf1man I guess that record now will go back to Jim Clark, who spent all of his career with Lotus, 9 years and 72 starts, that is.

  23. I’m one of those idiots that said JB was the worst driver to win a championship back in 2009. Now look at him, team leader of McLaren. Way to go lad.

    1. Mclaren now have the poorest team leader in as long as I can remember.

      1. Have to disagree. My opinion of Button has changed so much in recent years with Button being a class act last year or so. He may not be one of these “top 3” everyone goes on about but he’s proved he can win with the best car and sneak a win in wet conditions over the last few years – which is essentially the two qualities that Vettel built his reputation on. That’s enough to win another title anyway.
        McLaren have probably been quite keen on building a team round him anyway since he seems a far more reliable and mature chap recently. If Perez turns out to be the real deal, McLaren are in a good place.

        1. I think you’re overlooking the fact that Jenson cannot win races, or even come close to maximising a car’s potential when the car isn’t perfect. Just look at his performances from Spain up until Germany this year. He didn’t look like a driver worthy of driving for a top notch team… and it’s not the 1st time this has happened in his career either. This is going to be a recurring problem at Mclaren, where all he will constantly be looking for that elusive ‘balance’ and ‘grip’.

          Jenson is definitely mature and very marketable, but he lacks the consistency and skill to cut it with the top 3 drivers on the grid.

          Sergio might be the guy to take Mclaren forward, but we’ll have to wait until next year to know for sure

  24. Awesome news ! :D Now all we need to know who’s in the second ferrari seat! Hope it’s one of the Force India drivers, and we’ll see a great lineup for next year! There’s also rumors going around that Schumacher is going to Sauber, possibly alongside Heikki….

  25. Lewis will wait for 2014 (get adjusted to team and help develop a top car for the new regulations). I kind of hope Nick Heidfeld gives him a tough job.

    Sergio Perez will be able to prove himself. This might end Button’s career, if he doesn’t beat the mexican.

    1. Nich Heidfeld?

      1. Nich? (lol)

          1. Poor Heidfeld, if ever there was a driver that Mercedes and McLaren screwed over, it’s Quick Nick.

          2. @Adam Tate I completely agree with you. I always thought that he could have done a LOT more with his career if those two teams would have chosen him when it was expected they would.

  26. This is quite possibly the biggest F1 driver shake-up since Schumi retired in 2006.. I’m intrigued as to how quickly Perez can get into a groove at Mclaren, when Mclaren are logically going to be centered more towards Button (at least for 2013).. All that needs resolving now is the Massa seat, which will almost certainly stay with Massa now Perez is spoken for, and Perez’s empty Sauber seat.. Schumacher to Sauber?

    1. Rumour is that the Sauber seat is Alguersuari’s!

  27. Well obviously that confirms Hamilton to Mercedes, presumably replacing Schumacher.

    But ironically and sadly this could be the death knell even more notably for Massa. Felipe’s 2013 chances were entirely based on Ferrari’s ‘kill time and waste another year until taking Sergio for 2014’ policy.

    Now that’s all changed, their entire long term plans are ruined. So could we see Di Resta or Hulkenberg or someone long term for the future in a Ferrari next year?

    I would doubt it considering that they’re as equally inexperienced as Perez. So MAYBE Felipe will get away with another year still before the 2014 plan comes into action.

    Question is what the 2014 plan is, one of those young drivers, or Vettel?

    You’d think Vettel intuitively, that they’d only ever be hanging onto Massa for 2013 in order to set Vettel up for 2014, but I’m not convinced Fernando would want such a threat as team-mate. Two No.1’s is not the Ferrari style.

    1. Two No.1′s is not the Ferrari style.

      @hosford90 I agree but I guess that conisderations about future is what matters more for Ferrari here. They probably want to avoid the repeat of 2007 when they had two very good drivers after the Schumacher’s departure but no real superstar, no perfect team leader. Alonso is not immortal, he might want to end his career or move elsewhere someday and Ferrari know all that. They might have preferred to wait until hiring a driver of Vettel’s calibre but you have to take the superstars when they are available, which could be the case here.

      1. I actually much preferred the Ferrari of 2007-2009 where they didn’t have a clear team leader. It netted them 2 WCC, a WDC for Kimi and it should have earned them a WDC for Massa, and nearly did. Contrast that with 0 Championships since then.

        Alonso is good, he’s the best in the field nowadays and everyone knows it, but he’s not better than 1996-2004 era Michael Schumacher.

      2. I agree, that’s what I’d do. But there are no superstars available are there? Only Di Resta and Hulkenberg and co.

        And more to the point, Perez is as close to a superstar as they’d have been able to find, and they weren’t hiring him..

        1. @hosford90 Yes, and that’s why I believe that Ferrari have done an agreement with Vettel, even if that means abandoning the “one number one” policy for a couple of years.

  28. Wow…, it is indeed a finality! Congratulations to Checo and Bravo to LH. Way to show em what You’re made of. I predict prosperous futures for both these exciting new pairings. I’m from Southern California, so Serg is almost a hometown Boy. And My admiration for Lewis (faults and all) is well known around here. Gonna be fun to see the events unfold next season. I knew LH was gone the moment I heard him thank the team after Monza. These announcements were merely formalities.

  29. now Alguersuari to Sauber!

    1. No, Massa to Sauber.
      Di Resta/Hulkenberg to Ferrari.
      Alguersuari to Force India.

      1. Massa will stay at Ferrari, Force India’a line up will stay the same and Alguersuari to Sauber, or somewhere else. He’s already hinted that he will return.

  30. I’ll miss you, Checo. I hope you’ll be fighting for wins and the WDC next season because I’ll be very happy for you if you are!

    Also, lol Ferrari.

    1. I think it might be that Ferrari’s gamble is Vettel for 2014, that’s why they’ve always refused Perez. They’ll keep Massa another year.

      1. Indeed. Alonso / Vettel at Ferrari in 2014 looks allthemore likely now.

  31. I think we’ll see gutierrez at sauber.
    As for McLaren, I always thought they have a nice mix with Hamilton and Button, two drivers with very different styles. Now they’ll have two drivers with more similar styles.. Let’s see how it will work out.

    1. Yeah would be interesting to see Esteban in the Sauber. I’m not sure. He’s not really too ‘inexperienced’ in the sense that he’s been with Sauber for 2 years now. But I’m still not convinced. He could be good enough but he still had a real rookie feel about him in GP2 this year. I feel he might need one more year.

      I’d go for Jaime if I were Sauber.

      However Sauber do tend to be game on taking risks on young rookies, so it’s certainly feasible Gutierrez could get it.

      1. I’m starting to think it’s either Alguersuari / Kovalainen or Alguersuari / Gutierrez at Sauber next year. They lost one of their very few podium scorer drivers in history after the team’s best season in history. It’s the right time to do a proper shakedown within the team. Kobayashi is going too, I’m afraid…

        1. Plus, bringing Gutierrez would keep Carlos Slim’s money within reach. It’s something they need as well.

    2. Having two drivers with similar styles means they might be off the pace completely at some weekends, but it can be looked at from a positive angle as well: they’ll be able to develop a car that plays to the strengths of Button and Pérez simultaneously, rather than having to compromise one for the other.

      1. Yeah it’ll be strong overall, but they’re gonna suffer in Qualifying without a doubt.

        1. Will they suffer in Qualifying though?

          No doubt Perez will be getting paid much less than Hamilton would per year and in addition Perez probably brings a heck of a lot of money to Mclaren through his sponsors.

          If I were Mclaren, I would reinvest a substantial amount of the difference in cash flow into extra development of the car and attempt to claw back if not surpass the 2-3 tenths average qualifying defecit that Button had to Hamilton by improving the fundamental pace of the car.

          1. Oh yeah they can certainly build a good enough car to dominate and defeat the problem, but all things equal they’ll likely struggle.

            It is clear that on average, over a season, Hamilton would be able to consistently qualify a few tenths and a few places higher in the same car then Button or Perez likely could.

  32. I’ll miss Perez being at Sauber as he and Kobayashi together was my favourite line up by far on the current grid.

    I really don’t know how Perez will fare at McLaren, he’s been strong but inconsistent this year. Hopefully he’ll win a few races next year.

  33. After Alonso fails to win WDC this year, it’s gonna hurt watching Sergio win races next year. Ferrari karma right back at ya.

  34. @oskar

    I think you might be right. Alguersuari has been talking about a race seat for next year. The question becomes who will take Massa’s seat at Ferrari?

    I’d love for it to be Schumacher. But somehow I doubt that team could survive both Alonso and Schumacher in that team at the same time.

    I’m still holding out for Kobayashi. He’s quick enough on his day, but won’t be a threat to Alonso, and I believe he’s sensible enough to know he can still be a respected number 2.

    My gut says that Massa will be here for another year though, as he’s a known quantity, and Fernando likes having him around as he’s not a threat, and flatters Fernando’s talent (not that Fernando needs it. He’s brilliant).

    1. The question becomes who will take Massa’s seat at Ferrari?

      With Perex joining McLaren and Massa improving in recent races, I don’t think anyone will replace Massa next year.

    2. The question becomes who will take Massa’s seat at Ferrari?

      Eddie Jordan reckons it’s going to be Adrian Sutil.

  35. Great news I think. Whether it’s a good move for Hamilton or not, who knows? Enough people thought it was unwise for Button to leave Brawn/Mercedes and head to McLaren, well perhaps it really is a fair time for HAM to take a punt on them. But most of that bores me: HAM has had a fair crack at a great team, has a champtionship, now I’m more interested in seeing what Checo can do with this opportunity. Two drivers that know how to look after their tyres, even if their driving styles are not the same, gives McLaren an interesting opportunity for next year to design a car that plays to that. Perez is a tremendously exciting driver, and hopefully he can keep his good nature too. Great line-up Macca!

  36. I’m really happy we got Perez now, the guys going to be a future champion some day. It’s the same scenario and gamble Red Bull took a few years back with Sebastian Vettel who at the time was at Toro Rosso and it paid off. I’m really sad to see Lewis leave as a Mclaren fan, but im sure with JB in the team and Checo joining, its a win-win situation for Mclaren now. Checo can really learn off Jenson and hopefully this is the start of a very successful partnership.

  37. Feel a bit sad that it has come to this, but I think it was outrageous of McLaren to try to cut Hamilton’s wages.

    I can not imagine any other sport where the where one of the best well financed teams in the world threatens to cut the wages of one of their best ‘players’ when they are at the top of their game.

    I don’t think McLaren would have got themselves into this position if they had not threatened to cut Hamiltons wages, and I think they realised their mistake and upped their offer while watching Hamilton thoroughly outperform Button over the past few races, but by that time Merc had a foot in the door and the damage had been done by McLaren.

    Good luck to Lewis, Perez, Merc and McLaren.

    1. why is it outrageous? The economy is in a slightly different place than it was when he signed last time.

  38. I feel sad. I have been a McLaren fan (I’m a team supporter, not driver) ever since I started watching Formula 1 in 2003. Hamilton…I don’t know what to say. Was he greedy? Did he fight with Ron Dennis? We will never know.

    As of Perez, I think he was the best choice McLaren had besides Kimi and Michael. I am still holding out for Michael to remain at Mercedes and hope Rosberg is the one who gets shown the door instead.

    Perez, as Keith highlighted, lacks single lap pace. So does Button. But the both of them are arguably two of the most kindest drivers on their tyres (Button less so this year).

  39. There’s no denying McLaren are a competitive team, but one only has to look at their terrible history of driver management, as well as the depth of talent that has walked away from them in recent years, never to return (Kimi, Alonso, Newey… before then even the likes of Senna up & left) to see that fundamentally, there’s a lot wrong with the way team McLaren operates. A lot of talk about Hamilton’s loyalty (or lack thereof) but McLaren cost him the championship in his rookie year (keeping him out battling with Kimi until his tires went bye bye) & they did it again this year with botched pit stops & other assorted errors. Hamilton’s not been a perfect driver, mind you, but IMO I’d say he’s been loyal enough. I wish him all the best @ Mercedes.

    1. There’s only one man to blame for that!

    2. Very good assesment of McLaren, they seem destined to always be F1’s 2nd best team, with Ferrari, RedBull, Renault, Brawn, etc. always managing to edge them out for the WCC. Something they have not won since 1998, as far as WDC they only have Lewis in 08 and Hakkinen in 98, 99 for recent history.

      There is no other way to look at that other than as a disappointment. For a team that has had Hakkinen, Raikkonen, Montoya, Coulthard, Alonso, Hamilton and Button over the past decade, they should have more wins and a couple more titles.

  40. So it’s all clear now.

    Ferrari – Alonso / Massa
    McLaren – Button / Perez
    Red Bull – Vettel Webber
    Mercedes – Hamilton / Rosberg
    Lotus – Raikkonen / Grosjean
    Williams – Maldonado / Bottas

    With Force India and Torro Rosso probably set with their current drivers I guess the only interesting thing now is who will drive for Sauber and maybe who will Caterham get since they’re likely to lose both their drivers…

    Still, can’t wait to see Perez in a potential championship challenger of a car and INSANELY good to finally see some shuffles on the grid. Bring on 2013!!!

    1. Don’t completely rule out Schumacher / Alonso for a year.
      Let’s dream!

      1. I’d love to see that but… Massa is staying.

  41. So this most likely means that Massa will keep his seat next year, until Vettel supposedly moves there in 2014. I also think Webber will retire after next season, which means Red Bull might have 2 open seats. Knowing their faith in the young driver program I wouldn’t be surprised if they promoted both Ricciardo and Vergne, unless they have a shocking 2013.
    At least this move will freshen things up and the top teams won’t have the same drivers for 4 years straight. It will also be great to see what Lewis can do with a merc, depending on whether it is fast or not.

  42. I thought all the rumours were bullocks, but if McLaren thinks that it’s for the better good then it must be so. And Perez&Button seems like a great pairing. But then I feel sorry for Schumi. Although I hate the guy, it would have been nice to see him win for one last time. Of course he’s still got six chances to do that, but I wouldn’t put my money on that.

  43. Lewis was stupid to go for money and i’m glad that mclaren signed perez instead of anyone else.
    Lewis won’t win the championship this year.

  44. This is great news! Now I can’t wait for next year!

    Only concern is that McLaren now have two tyre managers… I am a massive Buttonbooster but I think Checo may just outsmooth the arch smoothie.

    I am glad to see MSC go – he’s had his second chance and made nothing of it, and there are plenty of young drivers who deserve a first chance.

    And the team dynamics at Mercedes will be very, very interesting. Poor Rosberg – definitely a number 2 now.

  45. I know this is impossible, but I would love to see Schumacher / Alonso for 2013, a one-year contract for the German who is still hungry. I think MSC can do better than MAS, and a one-year deal could still keep the Vettel option open.

    Hoping for Hülkenberg to Ferrari. And that Sauber seat will be a very good one for a talented driver.

    1. The only way I would enjoy seeing Schumacher return to Ferrari would be if he completely and utterly destroyed Alonso next season.

      Otherwise, let’s leave Ferrari’s greatest driver alone and let the pretender to his throne keep on trying.

  46. A bit gutted LH is leaving McLaren, especially now it looks like 2012 is over for him. Really wanted him to get the title this year and can’t say with any confidence 2013 at Mercedes looks good (who knows though). Great opportunity for Perez.

    Big question for me though is where does this leave Rosberg – reports are saying LH has undisputed number one status at Mercedes so if that’s true, I can’t help but feel a bit bad for Rosberg given he’s delivered Merc’s only race win. Having said that, without a dominant car (and even with one) LH is going to need a support driver from the off which he was clearly never going to get at McLaren.

  47. Not surprised at all. Good luck for Sergio, McLaren seems to be the best place for hist talent to flourish. Also luck to Hamilton, because it’s a quite a gamble to move to Mercedes. This also means Massa most probably stays, and a total revamp might occur at Sauber. One Hamilton = so much fun on the transfer market.

  48. i don’t like schumacher leaving the sport. despite his struggles (many not his own making) he still has the touch. the f1 field is closer than ever, and the team has let him down badly this year. love him or hate him, he’s the fangio of our era (maybe 2-3 eras) and he still has a win left in him, and as long as he does i want to see him fighting for #92. nothing could surpass that as a year in review highlight.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Had Schumacher been in a Ferrari, McLaren these three seasons he would have won races, had he been in a RedBull, he just might have won an 8th WDC.

      Mercedes have failed to deliver ever since the mid point of the 2009 season when they were still Brawn GP. It doesn’t mean they will continue to be a second rate team, but Lewis has his work cut out for himself.

  49. I hope Hamilton knows what he’s doing – if he’s not challenging for the victory in any given weekend, he looks annoyed and unhappy; god knows how he’ll cope if the car is uncompetitive over the course of a whole season.

    Paul Di Resta must be quite disappointed not to have landed himself the McLaren drive – although presumably his Mercedes connections count for little when McLaren are simply to become a Mercedes customer team.

    Also, is this a sign that Vodafone are about to pull out of sponsoring McLaren? It has been rumoured for a while now and presumably Carlos Slim’s Telmex / Telcel would happily take their place…?

  50. Poor Nico!

    1. Yes, his little pixie ears will be drooping today!

    2. He’svery excited about it, it says here.

      Very cool that lewis will be my new teamate! Gonna be another great challenge!

      Tea-mate? Does Lewis make the tea then?

  51. With Hamilton going to Mercedes, the case for Button helping Hamilton in the last 6 races becomes a lot less viable, at least psychologically.

    Kind of difficult to envision a world champion helping another one become double WDC before latter is leaving for good, therefore not being able to offer anything in return any more.

  52. well done sergio. has hamilton got an eye on 2014?

  53. On the surface it looks like Ham has been sacked by McL because he hasnt made an official statement that he’s leaving. Yes, we all know that he’s going somewhere and McL don’t have a contract signed by Ham and whatever deal has been done but Their early statement is pure gold. He didn’t dump me, I dumped him. Genius McLaren.

    1. @thecollaroyboys It would have been a case of ‘he didnt dump me, i dumped him’ if it had not dragged on for about 2 months. It’s not really shocking news now.

      Also, hardly genius for McLaren. My guess is that they will have 0 pole positions next year and if they hit another slump in form like they did this year with button, there wont be anyone to salvage some points.

      1. I’ll put money on podiums (podia?) for McL. If Ham gets a win for Merc next year you can send me some mustard for my hat.

        1. @thecollaroyboys
          yeah, that’s my guess too. i just think that both hamilton and mclaren lost out here. i really really hope the mercedes car is competitive next year – and most importantly, throughout the year.

  54. At the very least, McLaren will likely be able to tailor a car to both Button and Perez, with them both having that very smooth style, but is that a title-winning combination? Both are much better racers than qualifiers, but unless McLaren have a dominant car next season I don’t see either of them taking poles. Good luck to them, though. Button/Perez has to be about the most likeable driver combination in the paddock.

    A more pressing concern is who Sauber will get to replace their big talent. Gutierrez is in their set-up, but promoting him now would be one heck of a gamble, but who else is there, especially as their Mexican backing is at risk? Valsecci deserves a chance, but knowing Peter Sauber he could well draft in an experienced head like Nick Heidfield if Gutierrez isn’t ready.

    1. Kubica returning with Sauber next year would be nice, but realistically, it will not happen. I also think it’s highly unlikely that Schumacher would accept going to a midfield team, so he will just call it a day and retire again.

      Nevertheless, there’s plenty of talent around for Sauber to scoop. I think either Kovalainen or Glock would be very good at Sauber, and I imagine both would be looking forward to an upgrade after 3 years at the back of the grid. Glock/Kobayashi has a nice ring to it.

      If neither Heikki nor Glock can be had, I think Alguersuari might be a good option, too.

      More worrying than finding a good replacement, though, is the issue of financial backing now that Checo is leaving the team.

      1. Put Glock in the car, he and Kobayashi are two of the toughest, grittiest drivers in the field! And after 3 years of backmarker hell, the guy deserves a break.

  55. Awesome! I was hoping they’d take Perez, but I was sure (and afraid) they’d go for di Resta.

  56. Oh man I’m seriously starting to believe these Schumacher to Sauber rumours, which have massively intensified just now after this announcement.

    It would totally make sense in many ways, think about it:

    * There’s not a lot of likely movement anywhere else (considering Massa is going to keep his seat), so this would complete a triangle-shift between Perez, Hamilton and Schumacher and largely finalise the grid for next year.
    * Sauber (considering their relationship with Ferrari) would have expected to have Perez for another year, before Ferrari took him for 2014. Their long term plan was likely to groom Gutierrez over 3 years of GP2 to take the seat in 2014.
    * McLaren have now thrown this plan off, forcing their hand a year early. It is likely they may be unwilling to throw Gutierrez in the deep end a year early. I personally don’t think he’s ready.
    * Schumacher may not be able to win in your car anymore, but he can still develop it better than anyone. He retains amazing data and setup skills.
    * Sauber are notorious for starting strong every season then tailing off because of their lack of resources. Schumacher would bring much-needed development expertise.
    * Peter Sauber and Michael go back 25 years to sportscar days and are good mates.
    * Schumacher has no other option, Sauber will be his only offer. If he decides he’s not ready to retire he will have no choice but to take this (even if it means a substantial pay cut, solving the only real sticking point to this theory: Sauber’s lack of money). It’s Sauber or retirement for Michael.

    Summary of likely events: Esteban gets another year to develop in GP2. Michael signs for Sauber on a 1 year deal (he will be 44 next year after all), then uses his skills and knowledge to develop the car into a real force, then Kobayashi and Gutierrez have quality data and a strong car to play with for 2014.

    1. Your reasons are certainly plausible, however, I just can’t see it happening.

    2. Sauber will just find another young extremely fast driver as they always did. Not sure Perez will be able to pull of Raikkonen, but this is his chance to prove himself, all the best!!!

  57. Now let’s have Kubica to Sauber, can we? :)

  58. Perez is perfect for Whitmarsh. Probably for Button too. Probably have a similar style. Both trying to last longer on tyres instead of driving faster.

  59. Peter Sauber will be needing some cash now, so can see Bruno Senna taking his Brazilian money across – he’s not got the recognition he deserves for outperforming Maldonado this year, save for Pastor’s race win, and it’s clear Williams want Bottas in a race seat. Alternatively could see Petrov getting the drive if he can get some roubles together (Glock, Kovalainen and Alguersuari all lack the sponsorship money), freeing up a seat at Caterham for van der Garde.

  60. Good for Perez, he should be a beast in a McLaren

  61. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
    28th September 2012, 11:12

    I think that the only person upset about the absolutely adorable, cuddly, Fang toothed Mexican’s move to McLaren is Di Resta. There may never be a better shot at a seat in a major team for the Brit, especially if Bottas bursts on to the scene (as he is predicted to do).

  62. Excellent news. Perez has been brilliant since he got into the sport, and he’s got the chance of a lifetime to win races and even a championship in the future.
    Now to finish off a good day of news… Kubica to Sauber please?

    1. suprise with kubica might be bigger than that, perhaps not in 2013 but more likely in 2014 in red car :)

      1. I think we can wait for that!

  63. I’m really pleased that this particular log-jam has cleared for lots of reasons
    – Hamilton needs a new team to relate to
    – Perez’s talent merits an opportunity in a top team
    – The moves stop McLaren being a team of British drivers and Merceded from being a team of German ones
    Hope it goes well for Chico.

  64. Not sure if Perez is the right one for McLaren. Paul would have been much better choice. Because he’s a proven winner. Perez has got an ability to manage tire but that does not mean he is a potential pace setter. Button is not leader either in terms of speed. Very uncertain future for McLaren.

  65. This is mental!! Wow! Pretty excited though!

  66. Although I would have loved to see Checo in red alongside Alonso, I can only be happy for him!! On a funny note, I cannot wait to see Perez playing in Mclaren’s tooned with his nice Mexican accent…1 tequila por favor!!!

  67. This for me is a bigger story than Hamilton going to Mercedes. The Ferrari star of the future, the leader of their development program, has jumped ship to the nemisis. With it have gone millions in sponsership deals (which Ferrari dont need, but surely more cash in the pocket wont hurt?), and perhaps their next big star, for the next few years at least.

    Perez has also shown two massive fingers to Luca Di Monetezemelo. Someone was daring enough to give this young tallent a shot in the big(ger) game, and he took it. I do hope Perez can make it work at Mclaren, as Ferrari have really not looked at the bigger picture here (see James Allen’s article on the short term future of the sport from yesterday).

    1. @jamesf1 You can’t really think that Luca sits at Maranello, isolated from the rest of the world and doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on in the driver’s market. If he didn’t put Perez in a Ferrari car is because they don’t need his services (at the moment at least) and they have a better option for the future. They have a No 1 (Alonso) contracted till 2016, they only need a fast and consitent No 2. If Sergio didn’t have TelMex support he would have accepted this role only to be driving for Ferrari. But with such serious sponsorship behind his back, he would be stupid to do so… He could get a way better bargain from another team – and he did, by taking full advantage of whole Ham-Mac problem. There’s no team better than McLaren at screwing up with their star drivers, expect Perez to be slapping the door at Woking just in time Alonso retires (if no sooner).
      These two moves (Perez and Ham) are pretty exciting but I hope Ferrari drop the biggest bomb with whom will be replacing Massa.

  68. Wrong move IMO.

    Sergio Perez is very good but the problem is that I see him and Button as very similar type drivers. They both have a smooth, flowing driving style that is very car dependent: if the car is 100% to their liking they drive like gods. But when there’s need to fight with a difficult car that’s not set up precisely to preference they’re nowhere. Because of their so smooth style they also both have a weakness in qualy as they can’t heat up the tires quick enough. Mclaren would be better off covering their bases and signing a more Lewis-esque, more oversteery, “get-on-with-it” driver. My preferred option would be Hulkenberg.

    Just my opinion and I wish Sergio all the best.

    1. If anything though this means that they can develop the car in a more definite direction – as not to try and accommodate for two different drivers

      1. @electrolite I thought about that and it would be a good counterargument, apart from one thing. What if they fail? There was an article in Autosport a year or two ago about how difficult it is nowadays to develop a car around a specific driver’s style as opposed to, say, 10 years ago. Chief among problems sited was insufficient testing but there were others too.

        So my argument still stands. Mclaren don’t have their bases covered. If they succeed it’ll be a huge success, true. But if they fail, their fall will be spectacular as well. If you can call a double dose of “I have no grip!” moan on the radio that.

        1. montreal95 I guess time will tell :)

          1. @electrolite I guess so yes :) And as I’ve said, best of luck to Sergio!

  69. Best wishes for Perez to have this opportunity to drive for McLaren this early in his career is “massive”. At this moment I feel gutted that Lewis has done this I wish him the best of luck as he will need it. JB for 2014 WC with a McLaren winning the constructors. Oh Lewis you fool, please prove us wrong but I don’t think so!

  70. Imagine Perez on Tooned *shudders*.

  71. rotfl, most of you making perez WDC in 20xx… why? heikki was good and he drove for MCL and won nothing, still seems 2b good in caterham… button is a lucky wdc as he just was in a good place at the good time and in MCL he is no2 driver, clearly and constantly behind lewis. perez is just like button, not fastest, constantly complaining and he is not champion-like guy. mcl just got a puppet to replace hamilton and they screw it big time that they didnt keep hamilton.
    besides what did you expected? mcl for last few years cant develop champioship car lewis has been there 14 years in total, time for a change.
    well done lewis & merc.

    1. You can’t really compare Heikki with Sergio. Sergio has 3 podiums already for Heikki’s 4. I mean, its just completely different ballparks. I definitively think Sergio will be contending for the WDC at some point.

      1. sergio’s main strenght is not speed but style ie taking care of tyres. in 2-3 we got fed up with pirellis and yokohama or anybody else will do durable tyres and sergio will lose his main attributes.
        its not i dont like the mexican, but if i compare him to alonso or hamilton it seems he is not one of those guys who can win wdc…
        i’m curious if lewis is made of steel and how he will develop his career with merc.

        1. In this, good Sir, you are absolutely correct. I often ponder about Sergio’s skill on a different kind of competition (ie, one where tires preservation is not that important) But you know, as we say in Mexico “if you are not suffering, don’t suffer” :D (roughly translates to “enjoy the moment”)

          I really wish him the best, being Mexican this is super exciting news (and yes, I have been following F1 since I can remember, in case someone wants to call me a wagon jumper)

          1. These are great questions, but do we truly know Sergio is as great as Button at taking care of the tires? Australia 2011 sure seemed to show he was, as did Monza this year, but the Sauber has been the kindest car to the tires since Pirelli came on board. Replicating that kind of success in a new team will be the biggest challenge for Perez yet.

  72. This won’t go well.

  73. Telmex McLaren Mercedes

    1. I’m not sure. If it were the case, then why would Vodafone agree to a quote in the anouncement and look forward to winning with Checo? Seems odd.

      1. There’s more going on outside F1 you know? More like Telmex- Vodafone?

  74. Interesting to note the words in the McLaren announcement re Vodafone looking forward to success with him. Does that suggest Voda will continue with McLaren? I would have thought that would be mutually exclusive to anything Checo might bring with him from Telmex?

  75. Hopefully this is has silenced those always harping on about McLaren favouring an all British line-up. Di Resta was no doubt waiting in the wings, but it seems they went straight for Checo.

  76. Really happy for Checo. This was absolutely the right move from McLaren. Perez is extremely fast, and seems to be a really nice, humble guy. Can’t wait for 2013!!

  77. What I hope to be seeing come next season! :)

    1. Lol, so bad it’s good

  78. Jenson is a solid driver and he will retire in future with a F1 career to be proud of. He is however close but maybe just not close enough to be part of the stratosphere that the likes of Alonso reside in. If you put Button in the F2012, he won’t disgrace the car and he would definitely outpace Massa but he probably won’t wring as much out of the car as Alonso – which is what the super-elite drivers will do.

    Put it this way, if a poll were to be done now on which current drivers would squeeze in into a revised list of all-time top 20 F1 drivers, Jenson’s name probably won’t figure in the discussion as prominently as super-elite drivers like Alonso, Vettel, Raikkonen, Hamilton and of coz, MSC.

    It is degrading to call Button McLaren no 2 material but neither is he outright McLaren no 1 material. He is probably erm, a McLaren no 1.5 material if there is such a term.

    Now that Perez is paired with Button, it will be really interesting to see who has the upper hand next year at McLaren.

  79. I’m thrilled by these news! Checo is fast and likeable, add maturity and consistency and we’ll get another Latin American WDC contender.
    Slim will place two young + fast drivers in contention by a 2015 Mexico race, and Sauber a #5 team!
    McLaren secures funding post Vodafone and a development future.
    We fanatics get possibly 10 contenders for podium in every race next year.
    Can’t wait!!!

  80. Damn it, i was hoping Ferrari would sign Perez.
    Now what? Shumi to Ferrari or is it Vettel?

  81. so bottas got promoted for drive for williams for senna, as senna will move to sauber to patch up bugdet?or maybe glock/kovalainen will get a chance to drive something better??

  82. I have just read on “Auto Motor und Sport” that Sauber’s Telmex sponsorship is long-term and not bound to Perez being in the team. Ifthat’s the case, that’s good news.

    I think Sutil might also be a good replacement for Checo at Sauber. Experienced, reasonably talented and brings some sponsorship money. Not a bad deal at all. But I still hope they go for Kovalainen or Glock.

  83. Now we can Checo his teeth even more.

  84. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    28th September 2012, 17:00

    Wow. I went to sleep yesterday, and I open the page today to discover a revolution!!!!! Good luck for Sergio, a let’s see for Lewis and a probable good bye for Schum. BTW, where is Luca now to say he isn’t good enough yet?

  85. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    28th September 2012, 17:19

    And Luca said he didn’t have the skills to join a top team. I’ll have fun watching how many times Sergio will beat the ferraris next year

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      28th September 2012, 17:20

      oops my wi fi was having problems so I said the same twice

  86. Good for Perez, good for McLaren, bad for Sauber, bad for Ferrari.
    I knew Perez was going to go to McLaren, they have always aimed on young talent while Ferrari has done the opposite. Shame on the Scuderia.

  87. I think that Button should get a body armor, because Checo is going to start kicking his ass next year

  88. I don’t think anybody is really surprised by this news. It was obvious watching Sergio Perez this year that he was going to be snapped up by a big team, and until Spa that team appeared to be Ferrari. As with alot of other people, I am stunned at just how fast Lewis Hamilton’s relationship with McLaren soured, and it only confirms that all of Whitmarsh’s claims of a ‘unified team’ earlier in the year was just propaganda.
    When Fernando Alonso left McLaren in 2007 we had an F1 rookie as team leader to the second most successfull team in F1 history. He won the title the next year, but since then, the love story has gone south and with it to a degree Hamilton’s reputation. In my mind two factors are behind everything aside from money naturally. They are Martin Whitmarsh and Jenson Button.
    Hamilton never seemed to have the chemistry with Whitmarsh as he enjoyed with Ron Dennis. It never seemed to be happening, and I think this irked Lewis. When Alonso was at the team it was
    obvious who Ron Dennis was supporting, and this must have given Hamilton such a huge boost. When Dennis stepped aside in 2009 for Whitmarsh to take charge I feel this was the beginning of the end. A year later, Whitmarsh had replaced Heikki Kovalainen with the defending champion Jenson Button. Now Button comes across as Whitmarsh’s man, very corporate and polite, professional and does what is asked of him. Hamilton, at this point, is as appealing to Whitmarsh as a red headed step child!
    When Hamilton made the now infamous comments concerning a quote from Ali G at the 2011 Monaco Grands Prix, I was struck by one of the questions Lewis was asked. Asked about what had gone wrong with one of his pitstops Lewis responded by saying, ‘I was told to box for tyres and when I came in the mechanics weren’t there, nobody was there’. This for me was more telling than his attack on Maldonado or suggestions that his skin colour affect decisions made by the stewards, it was obvious that he had lost the support of the team. He had lost their respect.
    When you look at this season alone, I have lost count of the number of races in which McLaren have botched pitstops or strategies for Lewis Hamilton. The events of Spa and Twittergate or whatever you want to call it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Hamilton, if he had any respect within the team, had now lost it for sure. With Twittergate exposing Button’s data on his car, for the first time we saw the true nature of their ‘relationship’ exposed. It was obvious that Button, as nice a guy as he portrays himself to be, would be suggesting he have a new team mate for 2013.
    Sergio Perez fits that bill. Jenson Button rules to roost now, and it is up to Sergio to put him to pasture. And I think he can and he will, especially over one hot lap. At McLaren he will get the chance to grow and mature which would not have been the case at Ferrari, not when Alonso’s there anyway.
    As for Hamilton I believe leaving was the only answer. Look for instance at Alonso. His career was far from certain five years ago when he turned his back on McLaren, he spent the next two seasons making up the numbers at Renault before finally joining Ferrari in 2010. Like Hamilton, when he left McLaren, Alonso’s reputation had taken a mauling. He had done some bad things, we are told, when at McLaren which were far from sportsmanlike. Yet, largely, that has been forgotten and Fernando is enjoying life at Ferrari. He has a team around him thats ‘his’ in all but name, a team mate that has largely been nullified into submission, and now a machine under him that could make him a triple world drivers champion.
    Ofcourse, the question that is almost as large as the salary Mercedes will be paying Hamilton is how good will their new car be? Personally, I don’t think we will see it winning right away in 2013, but there is potential for later in the season. If Ross Brawn and Mercedes are smart it would be prudent to make Hamilton ‘believe’ atleast that it is ‘his’ team. Big ego’s at times like to be pampered, in order to get the best results out of him. If Hamilton wants to have a successfull, championship filled career in F1, he needs to take a leaf out of Fernando Alonso’s book. Perserverance!

  89. This news is probably less shocking than Hamilton leaving but a damn site more exciting than Hamilton at Mercedes!

    What a brilliant opportunity for Checo and he thoroughly deserves it. Than you to Sauber for bringing him to us.

  90. I can’t believe that Perez takes Hamilton’s place ?

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