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The 22-year-old Perez was part of Ferrari’s young driver program and was at one stage expected to replace Felipe Massa.

Perez has finished on the podium three times this season, and his performance at the Italian GP in Monza this month, where he finished second to Hamilton, was hailed as one of the most impressive drives of his young career and a sign that he could be a genuine contender for race wins in a faster car.

The Sauber team has yet to say who will replace Perez next season amid speculation that Schumacher could line up alongside Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi.

Perez survived a heavy crash at last year’s Monaco GP and started the new season strongly, with a second-place finish at the Malaysian GP in Sepang before securing third place at the Canadian GP in Montreal.

He is ninth in the overall standings heading into next week’s Japanese GP.

“I’m under no illusion that it is indeed a very big step, as it would be for any driver, but I’m ready for it,” Perez said. “I’m already massively looking forward to working with everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, and with Jenson, who’s someone I’ve long admired as a brilliant driver and a great champion.”