By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
After seven years of highs and lows, even saving the race team, Sergio Perez confirmed Wednesday that he’ll be leaving BWT Racing Point F1 Team at the end of the season.
Perez issued a statement on social media regarding the situation, saying he doesn’t have a Plan B at this time:
“Everything in life always has a beginning and an end, and after seven years together, my time with the team will come to an end after this season.
“It hurts a bit as I bet on the team during very rough times; we managed to overcome obstacles and I am very proud of saving the jobs of several of my teammates.
“I’ll keep the memories of the great moments lived together, the friendships and the satisfaction of always giving my all.
“I will always be grateful for the opportunity given to me by Vijay Mallya, who believed in me in 2014 and allowed me to continue my F1 career with Force India.
“To the current administration, led by Lawrence Stroll, I wish nothing bu the best in the future, specially with the upcoming Aston Martin project.
“I don’t have a Plan B. My intention is to continue racing here, but that would depend on finding a project that motivates me to continue giving my 100 percent in each lap.
“I want to thank each one of you who have been with me throughout these 10 years. To my family, who has always been there to support me despite anything.
“To all the sponsors who believed in my project, to my staff, and mainly God, who blessed me with the opportunity to live this incredible adventure called F1.
“I hope I can give you some good news real soon, but for now, let’s enjoy together the next races.
“I carry you in my heart!”
Since joining the squad formerly known as Force India, Perez has played a contributing role into the team’s rise from the back to the grid to a team that’s been considered the best of the midfield as indicated with the constructor’s back-to-back fourth-place finishes in 2016 and 2017.
CEO and Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer commented about Perez’s attributes won’t be forgotten and hopes he’ll continue to provide more stellar performances before their partnership ends at Abu Dhabi in December.
“Checo has been part of the Silverstone family for seven years and in that time has become one of the most complete drivers on the grid,” said Szafnauer. “Blisteringly quick on Saturday and Sunday, he’s established his reputation as a tenacious racer and together we have enjoyed some fantastic moments. If there was ever a sniff of a podium, Checo was ready to pounce, and those five podiums represent some of the finest days in the history of this team.
“Outside of the car, Checo is a true character and a good friend, and it’s been a pleasure working with him for such a long time.
“Although we will say goodbye at the end of the year, there are still nine races to go and plenty of opportunities for Checo to make some more special memories with this team.”
This announcement comes at the cusp of Perez finishing a rather disappointing 10th in the Italian Grand Prix while his teammate Lance Stroll ended up third to capture his first podium of the season.
Not only that, Perez’s departure reignited the much anticipated rumor of four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel joining Aston Martin, which is all but announced at this time. Vettel will leave Scuderia Ferrari at the end of the year with Carlos Sainz, Jr. set to replace him.
As for Perez’s F1 future, F1’s Senior Writer Lawrence Barretto reported that one team is interested of having the eight-time podium finisher aboard next season and that’s Alfa Romeo, which has a current lineup of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi.
Speculations have also risen this week about Raikkonen’s future where he hasn’t decided if he’ll continue for an 18th season.
In the meantime, the focus for Perez and Racing Point is to finish off the year on a high note, beginning in the Tuscan Grand Prix this weekend.