After much speculation, Force India has finally announced Sergio Perez as one of their drivers for the 2014 Formula One season. Perez will partner German Nico Hulkenberg as the team aims to build on a successful 2013 campaign.
Perez joins Force India after a tough season with Mclaren, during which the team failed to score a single podium finish for the first time since 1980. On the eve of the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, Mclaren announced that Kevin Magnussen, part of the team’s young driver scheme, would be partnering Jenson Button for the 2014 campaign.
Many saw this move as overly harsh towards Perez who, considering the circumstances, did a commendable job in 2013. The car was not nearly as competitive as it should be and he was fighting an uphill battle against a teammate like Button, and the fact that he got the best of the 2009 world champion is a testament to the great job he did throughout the season.
Nevertheless, Perez’s new role at Force India should provide him with a good opportunity to showcase his talents, especially as he will be partnering the brightest prospect in all of Formula One in Hulkenberg.
Force India owner Vijay Mallya has rejected the notion that Perez’s move to the team is commercially motivated. Force India has a reputation for fielding drivers purely on merit when most other midfield teams must resort to those with substantial financial backing. Regardless, it is understood that Perez brings with him a substantial commercial package estimated at €15 million per year. That cannot be overlooked in times like these.
This leaves Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil out in the cold. The latter is known to be in talks with Sauber about a drive for 2014, while the former looks highly unlikely to stay in Formula One, with moves to both Indycar and the DTM rumored to be possible.
Perez will undoubtedly be wishing that he was still at Mclaren, but at Force India, he has the best possible midfield team in which to shine.