Sergio Perez has issued a shock statement announcing he will leave Racing Point at the end of this season – leaving the path clear for Sebastian Vettel to join the team.
The Mexican joined the Silverstone-based outfit when they were known as Force India in 2014. He was a leading factor behind their survival in 2018 when taken over by a consortium headed by Lawrence Stroll and subsequently renamed Racing Point.
Perez’s exit paves the way for Sebastian Vettel to join, having been heavily linked with the team for 2021 when they will be rebranded as Aston Martin.
Despite not clarifying what his plans are, Perez has confirmed he wants to remain in Formula 1 next season and admitted his departure “hurts a bit”.
His statement released on Wednesday evening reads: “Hi All: 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 but the best in the future, especially 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!”
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