Button welcomes Perez


Mat Coch writes:

Jenson Button is looking forward to Sergio Perez joining McLaren for 2013. Speaking with the media at Suzuka the 2009 world champion revealed he has a fondness for Mexico.

"I love margaritas and sombreros," he joked. "There's a good picture of me somewhere wearing a sombrero and not much else!"

With two seasons under his belt by the time he joins the Woking squad, Perez will have competed in 37 Grands Prix. The 22-year-old can therefore hardly be considered inexperienced, even though he lacks the seasons of 'old timer' Button and the departing Lewis Hamilton.

"He is inexperienced compared with Lewis and it will be his first year, but he will still be quick," said Button. "Having just one experienced person in the team changes things but that is something I love. It is fun racing with new team-mates.

"There should be more consistency in the following year but I will definitely be the person McLaren turn to if they want a world champion next year," Button responded when questioned about his role within the team when Lewis Hamilton, its last world champion, moves on.

"I am surprised he (Hamilton) is leaving but we all have different things we want to achieve," he added. "I think he feels he needs a new challenge and, fair enough, that is his choice.

"I came in here not really knowing what to expect, coming to a brand new team after seven years racing for one team," he continued. "I really had to find my feet again after being so long with one team.

"I feel very at home here and I can't see myself racing anywhere else in my career. For me, being at McLaren for three seasons and nowhere near retiring or stopping racing for this team puts a smile on my face.

"I love racing in Formula One and I am with a team that can fight for wins, unlike most others on the grid."

Button wasn't the only person to extend his welcome to Perez, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali also wished the Mexican well. Perez has been a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, spending time testing for the Italian squad while serving his apprenticeship at Sauber. It was a link many had expected would see him partner Fernando Alonso at Ferrari for 2013, despite Ferrari's Chairman Luca di Montezemolo claiming he is not ready.

"Ferrari gave him a bit of experience by helping him in understanding something, and that's the way it is," Domenicali said. "We need to accept that and we will see. We are working with other young drivers that we hope we will be able to bring in our team as they will be considered ready.

"We didn't have any right to block him or to say something in that respect, because he was a driver who is working for the Sauber team," added Domenicali. "He received this offer or he discussed this offer with a very important team.

"We wish him the best for his future."

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Published: 06/10/2012
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