Formula 1

Perez: Racing Point more convincing prospect than McLaren F1 return

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Sergio Perez says Racing Point’s promising Formula 1 future was one of the decisive factors in him ruling out a move to rival McLaren.

The Mexican was one of several drivers on McLaren’s shortlist to replace for Stoffel Vandoorne for 2019, but the seat eventually went to Lando Norris.

Perez drove for McLaren in 2013, but was replaced after a difficult season and joined Force India – now Racing Point – the following season.

Force India went into administration last year, but the team was saved by a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll, who is aiming to make the team “one of the greatest” in Formula 1.

Despite McLaren’s interest, Perez decided to extend his contract with the Silverstone-based squad, and said a return to the Woking team seemed less appealing.

“McLaren is a great team, it is lacking a bit of time, but what convinced me more is the future here,” said Perez.

“I’ve been in this team so many years, I feel so comfortable and I see a bright future.

“I got involved so much with the team, with the administration process, new ownership and so on, so I felt that there is more that I have to do for this team and I was very happy to commit for another year.

“I am ready to put all my best years in the team and go to the next step together. That is the main main target for us.”

Although Force India lost all its 2018 constructors’ points up to the Hungarian Grand Prix following its change of ownership, the team still went on to finish seventh in the standings, just 10 points behind McLaren.

Perez admitted it was a surprise that, given all its problems, his team managed to stay in the fight at the head of the midfield, and warned rivals that they should be “worried” for the future.

“I am [surprised] with our performance, how close we are, including all the issues we had,” he added. “We should be nowhere by now.

“But to be where we are right now, it is impressive, and I think everyone should be very worried for next year on us.

“Now it’s the time when we all have to deliver on another level.

“We have to release all the potential and that is a big thing for us.”

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