Racing Point has praised “blisteringly quick” Sergio Perez following the driver’s announcement that he’ll be leaving at the end of this season.
Perez looks to be the victim of Ferrari’s decision not to continue with Sebastian Vettel into 2021.
As one by one teams confirmed their line ups, the Mexican driver found his seat under threat with team owner Lawrence Stroll keen to put Vettel in the car alongside his son, Lance.
Perez, though, insisted as recently as two weeks ago that he’ll be staying at Racing Point, which will be rebranded Aston Martin in 2021.
“At the moment everything is looking as if we’re going to carry on with the team,” said the 30-year-old. “The feedback I’ve got from the team is we are going to carry on.
“I believe it’s just a matter of time before those [Vettel] rumours can go away.”
Two weeks later he announced on the eve of the Tuscan Grand Prix that this season would be his last with Racing Point.
Team boss Otmar Szafnauer soon put out a press release of his own, praising the driver and wishing him well for the future.
“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,” Szafnauer said.
“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.”
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Perez admitted in his Wednesday night press release that he was “hurt” by the call.
The Mexican driver made it clear that leaving is not his choice.
“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,” he said.
“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 team-mates.
“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.”
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