Sergio Perez finds him in a precarious situation, one which no driver would want to be in. McLaren recently announced that he would be replaced with Kevin Magnussen, the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Champion, for the next season. While some say his ousting was on the cards, others argue he could have got another shot with the Woking-based team after an year of being hired as a replacement for Lewis Hamilton.
There’s some matter to the second argument as Mclaren slumped to one of their worst performances in Formula One unable to finish on the podium in 2013 and struggling to be among the top 5 in the Constructor’s Championship. The offer from Mclaren prompting Perez to move from Sauber seemed like a dream seat for the young driver as Mclaren was among the top four cars at the fag end of the last season. But an year later he finds himself being dumped by the same team who had quite ceremoniously brought him on as someone expected to propel Mclaren’s future.
His performance in an non-competitive car was satisfactory to say the least. He could not finish higher than fifth this season, but managed to out-qualify his teammate Jenson Button on nine occasions and beat him in six races including the United States GP. That kept the rumor mills running in the paddock that Button could have had a hand in the sacking of the Mexican driver. But now that the decision has been made, what are the options available for Perez? Below are a few teams that might look at hiring the Mexican driver but all of them have other options to explore as well.
The Indian team is yet to announce their drivers for the next season. While the buzz has it that Adrian Sutil is expected to keep his seat, Di Resta might be shown the door after a stream of performances that have thrown doubts at his driving skills. Force India saw their fortune’s turned around the season after the tyre-fiasco with only a handful of points in the second-half of the season.
They could look at Perez as a probable hire as he has the sponsorship from Carlos Slim(touted as the richest man in the world) owned Telmex, the telecom giant in Mexico. But Force India could be more keen to hire Nico Hulkenberg, the driver whom the team already knows from their association of 2011 and 2012 season. But Perez stands a good chance of the seat if Force India decides to sack both their drivers at the end of the season.
Kimi Raikonnen’s empty seat and one of the much talked about vacancies in the silly season is yet to be filled. While Perez is the latest addition to the list of drivers in the running for the best possible seat left for 2014, he could miss out to Pastor Maldonado or Hulkenberg. Eric Boullier, Lotus team Principal, has vouched for Hulkenberg but Maldonado can’t be ruled as he would bring enough cash to the financially unstable team with PDVSA , the state-owned Venezuelan oil company.
Sauber has a seat which might keep the Mexican driver’s hopes alive. Sergey Sirotkin, is most likely to driver for them in 2014 but if Hulkenberg moves out Perez could grab the seat with his ex-employer’s.
Caterham and Marussia
Both teams are yet to confirm their drivers for 2014 but it seems unlikely that Perez would want to move to the back-markers of Formula One considering it will be a demotion of sorts for the talented driver having already raced with Sauber and Mclaren in his career in Formula One.
While the stay in Formula One will depend on the game of musical chairs, Perez finds himself facing an uncertain future and forced to explore his limited options including a sabbatical unless he finds an offer worth staying back.Published 18 Nov 2013, 13:21 IST