Sergio Perez has finally been officially confirmed as Nico Hulkenberg’s new teammate at Force India.
Perez began talking to the team soon after he was dropped by McLaren, whose boss Martin Whitmarsh also tried to persuade the Silverstone outfit to take his departing driver.
His longtime mentor, Carlos Slim, personally intervened to help Perez land the drive.
“He brings a healthy mix of youth and experience, and I’ve been very impressed with his recent performances,” said billionaire Force India owner Vijay Mallya. “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 recognize 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 realize his potential. By pairing Sergio alongside Nico, we enter the new season with an extremely competitive lineup, which will go toward helping us achieve our goals for the new season.”
“Coming here was always my first choice, and I’m really happy everything has now been confirmed,” said Perez. “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 changed 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.”
The news means that Adrian Sutil, who had an ongoing contract with Force India, is currently without a drive. However, he remains close to Sauber, with which he has been in close contact for some weeks.
Meanwhile, Paul Di Resta has known for some months that he has been out of a job.