Force India sure Perez will stay despite Ferrari speculation

Force India is confident that it will retain Sergio Perez for next season, but has not ruled out the possibility of Ferrari making a swoop for the Mexican.

Force India sure Perez will stay despite Ferrari speculation
The podium (L to R): Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, second; Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1, race winner; Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1, third
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
Robert Fernley, Sahara Force India F1 Team Deputy Team Principal in the FIA Press Conference
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 celebrates his third position in parc ferme
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 in the FIA Press Conference
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Perez is in the best form of his career at the moment, having finished on the podium at both the Monaco and European Grands Prix.

His form, allied to some disappointing performances from Kimi Raikkonen, has prompted speculation that Perez could be on the list of contenders to step in as Sebastian Vettel’s teammate for 2017.

The Mexican's hopes of landing the seat could be boosted by potential backing from local sponsors.

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley has made it clear, however, that he is not too concerned about the situation – even though nothing is guaranteed right now.

I am very, very confident we will have Checo [Perez] next year, but you can never say never in F1,” Fernley told Motorsport.com. “Things can happen, especially when you are dealing with the might of Ferrari.

“If there is interest, and we don’t know of any, and there has been no approach or anything like that – so it is more media speculation than coming from the team – then you have to give full credit to Checo for getting people’s attention.

“We’ve only got four teams ahead of us, and the choice is very minimal.”

Ferrari is in no rush to finalise its driver plans, and the team has been clear that if Raikkonen can keep on delivering podium finishes, then there will be no reason to replace him.

Fernley added that no timetable had been mapped out for Force India to conclude its situation with Perez – but hinted he was eager to get things settled quite soon.

I think we will always work to do it in a timely manner, but it has to be something that everybody signs up to,” he explained.

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