Perez to leave McLaren at end of F1 season

Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:10pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Mexican Formula One driver Sergio Perez issued a statement on Wednesday confirming he would be leaving McLaren after just one year with the former champions who are enduring their worst season since 1980.

Neither the 23-year-old nor his team mate, Britain's 2009 world champion Jenson Button, have finished higher than fifth in 17 races so far.

"I would like to wish the team the very best in the future," the Guadalajara-born driver said ahead of Sunday's U.S. Grand Prix, the closest he gets to a home race with thousands of compatriots expected to attend.

"I will always be a fan of McLaren. In the meanwhile I will be looking at my future to ensure my position in the best possible package to fight for wins."

Perez's position at the former champions had looked safe, with McLaren seemingly prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, until last month when momentum began to build behind rising Danish prospect Kevin Magnussen.

In a dignified letter posted on his Twitter feed, Perez left no doubt he had been forced out and would be looking elsewhere after the final two races in Texas and Brazil.

However, he refused to air any grievances or engage in recrimination.

Thanking McLaren for giving him the opportunity of driving for the second most successful team in the sport, in terms of titles won, he said it had been an honor and he had no regrets.   Continued...