Sergio Perez has confirmed speculation that he will be leaving McLaren after just one season with the team.
The Mexican was quickly signed up as Lewis Hamilton's replacement for 2013 after some impressive performances with a midfield Sauber, but has underwhelmed in his first year at a top team.
McLaren themselves have not confirmed his exit officially, but Perez bade farewell to the team in an emotional letter on Twitter:
English pic.twitter.com/IZSOGdGodv— Sergio Perez (@SChecoPerez) November 13, 2013
Perez currently has picked up 35 points to Jenson Button's 60 this season, but although he is well behind his teammate, the 23-year-old could also point to the fact that the McLaren has been well off the pace all season long.
Usually among the front-runners, McLaren are languishing in fifth place in the constructors' championship this season and have yet to pick up a single podium finish. Whether Perez's talents would have shone through in a different car will be a talking point among fans.
Reports, such as that written by Andrew Benson for the BBC, suggest that Perez's replacement will be young Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen:
McLaren's analysis of Magnussen's performance in their simulator suggests he is already faster than Perez, and he has been extremely impressive in his two F1 tests for McLaren, at Abu Dhabi in November 2012 and at Silverstone in July 2013.
It would be a bold move to select a driver untested in Formula 1, but the Woking-based team do have form in that area—they promoted Lewis Hamilton in 2007 at the same time as hiring the reigning world champion Fernando Alonso. In the end the pair finished level in points in the championship, while former driver Kimi Raikkonen pipped them to the title by a point.
Are McLaren right to axe Sergio Perez?
In his letter, Perez added that he was looking forward to the upcoming weekend in Austin—close to the Mexican border, it is virtually his home race—and is determined to find a race seat for 2014.
With only a handful of seats still available, however, Perez's options are sorely limited.