Sergio Perez signs new multi-year Force India deal to stay for 2015 and beyond
Force India to field unchanged Hulkenberg/Perez line-up next year
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 22/11/14 3:53pm
Force India have officially confirmed Sergio Perez will remain at the team for 2015 and beyond after agreeing a new multi-year deal with the Mexican.
Perez, who joined the team this year after being axed by McLaren 12 months ago, had been expected to stay on for next season alongside Nico Hulkenberg and team co-owner Vijay Mallya revealed earlier this month that he had already exercised his option on the driver's services for 2015.
And while the detail of the additional years of the new contract still initially needed to be worked out, Force India announced in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night that those negotiations had now concluded and a multi-year contract with Perez signed.
Force India also confirmed the continuation of their parternship with Mexican telecommunications giant America Movil, whose subsidiaries include Telmex and Claro, with a "new look" for the team in 2015 to be revealed at a car livery unveiling scheduled for late January in Mexico City.
“It’s good to announce my plans. As soon as I joined Sahara Force India, I noticed the hunger and determination of everyone in the team, and I’m very proud to be part of that," Perez, who originally made his name with Sauber in 2011-12, said in a statement.
"I feel at home here and I’m fully committed. I’m enjoying my racing and we’ve already celebrated some special results together. It’s important for me to establish myself in a team and have some continuity. The team have given me a competitive car this year and I believe we can continue to achieve great things together in the future.”
Perez secured just the second podium finish in Force India's history with third place in Bahrain, and while outqualified and outpointed by Hulkenberg during the course of the season, the 24-year-old has outscored his highly-rated team-mate since the August summer break.
Mallya, whose team are set to finish in a joint-best ever sixth in the Constructors' Championship this year, praised Perez's performances in 2014 and believes there is more to come from the Mexican.
“I am delighted that Checo will continue with us. He’s a true racer who has done a fantastic job for us this season," the Team Principal said.
"The whole team has been impressed with his speed and racecraft, as well as his role away from the track. He has a very bright future in Formula 1 and we will do our utmost to give him the equipment to match his talent. I look forward to celebrating more strong results with Checo this year and in years to come, and I cannot wait for Checo’s first home Grand Prix in Mexico in front of his huge following of passionate fans.”
The Perez announcement means that there are now just three seats still unconfirmed at the nine teams which are all-but certain to be on the grid next season. McLaren, who are believed to have already signed Fernando Alonso, have said they won't make an announcement on their line-up until December 1 at the earliest, while Toro Rosso have several drivers on their shortlist to partner the incoming Max Verstappen. The futures of the Caterham and Marussia/Manor teams remain uncertain, however.
How the 2015 grid is shaping up:
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg
Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen
Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa
Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez
Max Verstappen and TBC
Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado
Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr
MARUSSIA (ENTERED AS MANOR F1 TEAM)