Sergio Perez non-committal on his 2017 future at Force India
Mexican wants to stay with team, but negotiations on-going
By William Esler
Last Updated: 19/09/16 2:21pm
Sergio Perez remains non-committal on his future at Force India, admitting a 2017 deal is still yet to be signed.
The Mexican, who has attracted interest from Renault and Williams, says he wants to stay with the Silverstone-based squad, but is still yet to put pen to paper on a contract for 2017.
"It looks like it [staying at Force India], we are just getting to the end of the final negotiations which I really hope doesn't change," Perez told Sky Sports F1.
"But in this business I know by experience that things can change very quickly. When I was at McLaren everything was pretty much done, there was just a little piece of paper to be signed and it never got signed.
"But it very much looks like I will be here next year. That is what I want to do but you never know."
And while staying with Force India is Perez's preferred choice, he admits he could have other options.
"You always see rumours around, not only with Renault, but with Haas and Williams," he added.
"My priority is to secure a deal with my current team, if that cannot happen then we will see what options are on the table."
Perez admits he'd love to move to Ferrari in the future, but revealed he nearly quit F1 after being dropped by McLaren after just a solitary season.
"I thought about quitting after that hit. It came just before Austin and that is pretty much the end of the year and all of the seats are pretty much closed up," Perez said.
"A couple of seats were available, I was not willing to stay with a team where I could not show my talent - being at the back of the grid, I was not willing to do that. I thought 'maybe Formula 1 is done for me, I will have to look at other series and other categories', you realise that Formula 1 is not everything in the world.
"It was a massive hit. From being in a position where lots of teams wanted me that year, having the opportunity to go to different top teams and then picking up the wrong one was a massive hit for my career.
"It was extremely tough my period with McLaren, especially what happened at the end. I was expecting to be part of McLaren for a couple of years, to grow with the team, but that didn't happen. I didn't have the opportunity to show my full potential with the team. We didn't have a competitive car, but not only that we didn't have a consistent car. When I look back it is just great that I was able to survive that hit."
Perez brings substantial sponsorship with him from his native Mexico, but feels it is an insult to his driving ability that he has been labelled as a so called 'pay driver'.
"Sometimes I feel that some people don't consider me as good a driver as I have shown with my results. I have seven podiums with a car that has never been able to do so," he said.
"The fact that I bring some sponsorship with me is always good for a team. I don't only bring the speed, I also have some support behind me which is great for me. But I obviously don't want people to think I am here because of that and the best way to do that is by having the results."
Indeed, Perez is sure he would be able to secure an F1 seat purely on driving talent without sponsorship money.
"I am very confident," he said assertively.
"With the results I have had in my career before Formula 1 and in Formula 1, if I didn't have the drive there would be many other drivers who wouldn't be here either because I am ahead of them, I have beaten them so I think I definitely deserve my seat here."
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