McLaren’s Jenson Button has described his team’s decision to replace Sergio Perez with Kevin Magnussen as a huge risk for both sides.
While the news was not new when it was confirmed on Thursday, some are still surprised by the decision to replace a young driver like Perez, who is only 23, after one year replacing him with a 21-year-old rookie.
Indeed as recently as Abu Dhabi Button himself claimed Checo had done enough to maintain his seat for 2014, but speaking about Magnussen’s call up he had some strong words of wisdom for the Dane.
“It’s one of those positions where it could light up your career or put an end to your career very early if things don’t go well,” the 2009 world champion told reporters in Austin.
“It’s a massive risk to be put in the deep end, if you like, with a team that should be fighting for a title.
“But if a driver is willing to take that risk, he has a lot of confidence in himself and his ability,” added Button.
Perez’s dropping leaves in a difficult situation with seats filling up on the grid for 2014, however even if the Mexican is not in the sport next year his emotions at least for now are not coming out.
“Perez thanked McLaren as though they have done him a favour,” said a frustrated Michael Schmidt, the highly respected correspondent for Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
“And McLaren has praised Perez in a way that makes you wonder why in the world they’re separating. It’s dishonest,” said Schmidt.
“A bit more honesty would be appropriate. McLaren should say why his contract is not being renewed, and Perez should be allowed to say what he thinks about the late notice.
“If they’re both just singing each other’s praises, they treat us – the fans – like we’re stupid,” added Schmidt.
Your selected imageLooking ahead to the future Perez told the official F1 website that his short term future may not lay within F1.
“Probably I will leave Formula One and find something else for a year or two,” he said.
One part of the story many are turning to is that of the influence of Checo’s Mexican backers for McLaren’s decision, it is understood they have fallen behind on payments and indeed a decision on the team’s new title sponsor has been delayed.
When asked, Perez however denied it played a major part in McLaren’s decision.
The issue of sponsorship is front and centre of the driver market for 2014 and the retiring Mark Webber has described it as “unhealthy” for the sport.
Recently Force India’s Adrian Sutil has been hinting at a new deal with the team though it is yet to be confirmed.
He said on Thursday: “It’s good to have a contract, but if someone comes along with 30 million, then a contract doesn’t have much value.”
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