The driver market has now kicked into high gear for 2013 – Sauber driver Sergio Perez has this morning been confirmed at McLaren on a multi-year deal!

In a twist that not many saw coming, the Woking outfit jumped the gun and named Perez as Jenson Button’s team-mate after months of speculation over the future of Lewis Hamilton. With his seat now filled – with the Brit all but confirmed at Mercedes for 2013 – it means other potential moves could be done before the end of the weekend.

The Mexican hadsthree podums already this season – Photo: Sauber Motorsport AG

“I’m thrilled and delighted to have become a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver”, confirmed Sergio in a statement.

“The McLaren name is one of the greatest in the history of Formula 1. For more than 40 years, McLaren has been a team that every racing driver has aspired to drive for – I was brought up on the great stories of Ayrton Senna’s many world championship triumphs for McLaren – and I’m truly honoured that they’ve chosen me to partner Jenson from 2013 onwards.”

Perez had been part of the Ferrari young driver programme, but Luca di Montezemolo said several times that he did not think the youngster was experienced enough for a team like Ferrari. A statement like that could now come back to haunt the Italian marque.

With Sauber being a surprise this year with three podiums, all from Sergio’s hard work, it will be curious to see who ends up there. Names being touted are Jaime Alguersauri, Heikki Kovalainen, and even Charles Pic.

Interesting note; we spotted Sergio’s impressive performances in our mid-season Fantasy GP review in the summer break.

Photo: Sauber Motorsport AG