Force India will do "anything" to retain Perez, Ocon

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley is confident that the Silverstone team will keep both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon next year.

Force India will do "anything" to retain Perez, Ocon
 Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India VJM10
Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India VJM10
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India VJM10
 Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India VJM10

The Mexican is out of contract at the end of the year, and he and his sponsors are eyeing up other opportunities, but Fernley believes that a deal for him to stay will eventually be concluded.

Sources have suggested that Mercedes would be happy to see Ocon move to Renault next year, possibly freeing up the Force India seat for its other protege, Pascal Wehrlein.

Frenchman Ocon was contracted to the Enstone team when it was still Lotus, and his nationality makes him an obvious target for Renault.

However, Fernley is adamant that Ocon has a firm ongoing deal with Force India.

"We'll do everything in our power to maintain the driver line-up we have today," Fernley told Motorsport.com.

"We're in a very fortunate position in that like the top three teams we've got two super talented drivers, and we're going to need that in order to battle for fourth place in 2018, or hopefully even go higher.

"So the last thing we want to do is to lose talent."

He acknowledged that other teams are interested in Ocon, who has scored points in 11 of 12 races this year.

"There's also interest in Max Verstappen. There's a reason why! They're two very talented drivers. Esteban is contracted with us effectively for three years, but two of them are absolutely secure.

"From a contractual point of view it's clear, and I don't think Esteban has got any ideas of wishing to go anywhere else at this point.

"You've got to remember that we identified the potential of Esteban some time ago, and we obviously took the opportunity where others didn't, including Renault, to sign him last year.

"We've now got the benefit of that, and we want to make sure that we optimise that."

Regarding Perez, he said: "There's always alternatives for drivers who don't have contracts, but I believe Checo is happy here, and always has been. We still offer the best competitive seat for him."

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