When the 2013 Formula 1 Season got under way, Lewis Hamilton had already switched over to Mercedes-AMG Petronas, while McLaren-Mercedes sought out the services of Sauber’s Sergio Perez.
Perez was always considered to be a very quick, talented yet perhaps too aggressive type of driver. During his first (and only) season with McLaren, his teammate Jenson Button told the press that Perez was taking too many risks at high speed, banging wheels with people at 300 km/h (186 mph) – and it wasn’t a compliment.
Button went on to say that most drivers grow out of that “karting phase”, yet Perez apparently hadn’t.
The young Mexican driver went on to finish the season 11th, securing just 49 points, 17 shy of what he managed with Sauber the year before.
Since then he’s been trying to rebuild his career with Force India, saying that his time at McLaren definitely hurt his reputation.
As Perez tells it “at that time, McLaren was winning for a couple of years already – it was the team to be at. Obviously in hindsight, it damaged quite a bit my reputation because when a big team gets rid of you after a year, it damages your reputation in the sport.”
He then said that he believes that good results in the past year and this year as well might help him land another big seat with a top team in the future, tough last season he finished 10th with 59 points in total, and this year he’s currently 13th with just 15 points.
He’s also been eclipsed somewhat by his teammate at Force India, Nico Hulkenberg, who’s star appears to be shining rather brightly compared to most drivers on the grid.
Even so, Perez says that he still has a good relationship with Ferrari. “In the past I was really close to drive for the team. In F1 you never know what can happen. I had to stay at Sauber for one more year  and then go to Ferrari, but then the opportunity with McLaren came.”
Perhaps the fact that the Scuderia just re-signed Kimi Raikkonen didn’t sit too well with the Mexican, but other opportunities might arise in 2017.
Until then, he definitely needs a very strong year in order to prove himself – otherwise, he’ll probably never make it out of the middle (of the pack).
Story references: Autosport