It was announced by Force India owner Vijay Mallya on Friday that the team have confirmed Sergio Perez will remain at the team alongside Nico Hulkenberg next year, although the Mexican says he is still considering his options.
Perez and Hulkenberg were paired together by Force India in 2014 and have helped the team’s resurgence in the V6 turbo era, which included a best-ever fifth place in the constructors’ championship last year. Perez has scored four podiums in two years, including two this year in Monaco and Baku.
Perez’s impressive performances this season saw him linked with a switch to Ferrari, although Kimi Raikkonen was confirmed for another season at Maranello on Friday morning ahead of the British Grand Prix. In the hours after that news had been announced Mallya confirmed his own team would remain unchanged for another season as follows:-
‘We are very happy with Nico and Checo. Both are signed for 2017 and really I haven’t thought about it beyond that.
‘We are very early, much earlier than normal, because usually we wait until the winter before announcing our drivers. This time we signed both for 2017 well in advance and of course today’s announcement from Ferrari put to rest a lot of speculation that has been taking place in the last few weeks.’
However, when Perez was asked to confirm the news on Friday, he said he was still keeping his options open until after the summer break. Perez said the following:-
‘First of all, let’s see. I haven’t made up my decision on where my future will be. I want to take some time off and reflect on things over the summer break. Right now it is so intense that I don’t want to waste any energy, I want to give it all to my team because we are in a very important part of the calendar with three races in the next four weeks.
‘That’s the main target for me, to give it my all, and come away from these three races with a lot of points. Then I will sit down with my people and see what is the best for my future.’
When asked further on Friday whether Mallya had reported the news incorrectly, Perez added the following:-
‘I’m not saying that, I’m just saying I will make up my decision on what I will do for the future. I’m not saying that what Vijay said is wrong. But I haven’t made any decision on my future yet.’