Zak Brown says Sergio Pérez deserves to be on the shortlist for the second seat at the McLaren F1 Team for 2019, although the Mexican is expected to remain at the Racing Point Force India F1 Team.
Four drivers are in contention to partner Carlos Sainz Jr. at McLaren in 2019, with Pérez joining Stoffel Vandoorne, Lando Norris and Esteban Ocon on the shortlist.
McLaren CEO Brown says the team is still weighing up their options for next season and revealed talks have taken place with Pérez about a return to the team that he raced for back in 2013, where he partnered Jenson Button following Lewis Hamilton’s departure to Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport.
“We think Sergio is a good race car driver. He’s raced here before,” Brown is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “The driver market is fluid and you need to keep all your options open.
“We’ve really got a shortlist of about four drivers. We think Sergio is an excellent driver and deserves to be on that list. Sometimes you’re in a position where you can make the decision and other times some decisions are made for you.
“Maybe someone will announce someone on our list tomorrow morning, so you need to be prepared and keep your options open. And we consider Perez as someone who would consider driving for us.”
Brown insists McLaren has yet to put pen to paper on any contract to fill the second car alongside Sainz for 2019 and with regards to Perez it depends on his situation elsewhere.
“We have not signed with anybody and my understanding is that the situation with various ownerships going on, I am not sure who he has signed what with,” added Brown.
“But he is someone that we have had a conversation with, but we have not signed a piece of paper with anybody.”
Pérez says he would seriously consider a move to McLaren should he be given guarantees that the team would be competitive.
“If I had guarantees that I could be competitive, and there was a great project behind everything, then why not?” Pérez is quoted as saying by PlanetF1.com.
“But I would have to know the details of their plans better, to understand the situation of the team.”