AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Sergio Perez fears Kevin Magnussen, who replaced the Mexican at McLaren at the end of 2013, will struggle to keep his Formula One career alive now that the Dane has also been rejected by the team.
“It’s a shame for Kevin because he came into a very difficult time at McLaren, similar to my time there,” Force India driver Perez told reporters at the U.S. Grand Prix on Thursday.
“I was lucky to find another team and keep my Formula One career. For him it is going to be a lot more difficult right now because there are not many places out there and he already missed a year in Formula One.”
Magnussen, who turned 23 this month, has been McLaren’s reserve driver this season after losing his race seat to double world champion Fernando Alonso.
He made a strong debut in 2014, with his second place in the Australian season-opener ranking as the best debut by a rookie since Canadian Jacques Villeneuve in 1996.
With 2009 champion Jenson Button staying for another season, and Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne winning the GP2 support series and likely to take the reserve role if he cannot secure a race seat, McLaren had nothing to offer Magnussen.
He has said he was informed of that fact by email on his birthday.
Perez, who had a difficult season at McLaren alongside Button, was cut loose at a similarly late point in the year when most seats are already taken.
“I really hope for him, because he deserves a seat in the sport, that he finds a seat,” the Mexican, who feared for his own future at the time, said of Magnussen.
Cash-strapped Lotus are one team who do have a place although their future has yet to be secured despite Renault being close to finalizing a takeover.
The new Ferrari-powered Haas F1 team, who are set to make their debut next year, also have a vacancy but Ferrari reserve Esteban Gutierrez looks likely to get that seat due to close links with Maranello and his solid sponsors.
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner gave a hint in Gutierrez’s direction when he spoke this week of what he was looking for.
“Someone who has driven an F1 car, of the current generation, money is always important because it costs a lot of money, and North America is a nice place for a driver to come from,” he said.
Editing by Tony Jimenez