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Perez: 'I didn't see it coming'

2013-11-15 14:59

END OF THE ROAD? McLaren has dropped its driver Sergio Perez for 2014, leaving him very unsure if he'll be able to find a seat for the next season. Image: AFP

STEVE KEATING

AUSTIN, Texas - Sergio Perez is shocked by McLaren's decision to drop him and hoped he would find another Formula 1 drive for 2014 despite time being against him.

The Mexican, with two more races with the team including Sunday's US GP, recognised he was entering a crowded market.

The 23-year-old, to be replaced by Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen, said he was told only a few days earlier that he was being cut loose: "I had no idea. It came as a shock because the team was always giving good feedback to me.

"Everything was pretty much settled and I was going to stay with the team but then something happened in the last few weeks and they decided not to, so it puts me in a very difficult position to move forward."

SURPRISE EXIT

Perez issued a statement on Wednesday (Nov 13) confirming he would be leaving McLaren after only one season, the former champion team's worst since 1980. Neither he nor his team mate, Britain's 2009 F1 champion Jenson Button, has finished higher than fifth in 17 races.

Perez's position had looked safe, with McLaren apparently prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, until October 2013 when momentum began to build behind Renault 3.5 World Series champion Magnussen.

McLaren confirmed on November 14 that the Dane, son of former F1 racer Jan, would replace the Mexican alongside Button. Perez shrugged: "The year we had was so disappointing for everyone. They had to do some changes and they have to change me. That's racing.

"McLaren decided another route and I have to find my own route...I hope I can  find a good seat. I am only 23 and have a lot to give to the sport - I really hope I find a good seat."

Perez faces competition for those that are still open, with well-funded Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado linked to Lotus, Sauber and Force India while Germany's Nico Hulkenberg is a highly rated prospect.

Only Lotus among the top four teams has a vacancy but they is waiting to see whether long-awaited new investment comes through before making a decision.

"It's no secret it is very tough right now," said Perez. "I know there are some options and I want to stay in F1 but won't if I don't find the right option. I'm pretty confident something will happen.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 US GP weekend.
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