Elation for Sergio Perez, devastation for Paul Di Resta, as the McLaren refugee has claimed the second seat at Force India, following in the footsteps of now teammate, Nico Hulkenberg. The Mexican’s move to Force India has resigned Paul Di Resta to a 2014 outside of Formula One, yet this was an unfortunate reality and it was common knowledge that his departure was imminent. Despite only entering the sport in 2011, it has already been a roller-coaster ride for Sergio Perez – success in 2012, less so in 2013, yet will Checo prove his talents once again in 2014 and show McLaren how wrong they were to displace him.
Perez has been strongly linked with the Force India seat ever since the US Grand Prix. However, it is somewhat surprising that Perez has managed to obtain any seat at all considering the unceremonious manner in which his previous employers McLaren declared that he would be departing in 2014. Entering the driver market in November is hardly the optimum time and McLaren acknowledged this and vowed to help Perez find another seat, (yet the influence that Whitmarsh had on proceedings is debatable).
While a possible return to Sauber seemed a possibility, Checo has stated that Force India was always the prime target. “Coming here was always my first choice., Perez announced. “This is a young team with a lot of determination and they’ve produced competitive cars for the last few years. It’s all change for next season with the new regulations, but I already have a good feeling about 2014.” The strength of the team next year is somewhat of a mystery at the moment, as is the case with all other teams. The pecking order will undoubtedly receive an overhaul in the wake of the new regulations and finding a competitive seat is a lottery. However, the promise of the Mercedes engine unit and Force India’s track record showing an up-ward curve of development, Perez is rightfully optimistic.
Unfortunately, Sergio’s gain is Paul Di Resta’s loss, as the Scot looses his seat after three years with the team. “Paul did nothing wrong, but every team needs to move on,” commented team boss Vijay Mallya. Undoubtedly, Paul’s lack of funds would have been a concern for the team, despite their impressive financial state compared with their closest rivals. Moreover, Paul suffered a dangerous downturn in form which lasted from the German Grand Prix until the Indian Grand Prix, within which he failed to score a single point. This may well have contributed to his eventual ousting. A return to DTM is the likely result for Paul and the question will remain as to whether he will be able to return to the sport in the future.
So, just Sauber, Marussia and Caterham are yet to confirm their 2014 line-up’s. Expect these announcements to come very soon…