Force India wants to make Perez's 2017 choice "difficult"
Force India says it is doing all it can to make it difficult for Sergio Perez's sponsors to think they are better off taking their backing elsewhere next season.
Although Force India has taken up its option on Sergio Perez's contract for next season, separate discussions regarding the Mexican's sponsors have not yet been concluded.
That is what Perez wants to finalise over the summer break, and if they agree that they want to move teams – with both Renault and Williams known to be interested in his services – then an agreement will need to be struck to get the Mexican out of his Force India deal.
But Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley believes that with the team locked in a battle with Williams for fourth place in the constructors' championship, there should be little incentive for Perez to go elsewhere.
“I think we have got to make that decision as difficult as it possibly can be,” Fernley told Motorsport.com about the Perez situation.
“We are keen to keep both drivers, so if we can haul in Williams and take fourth place, there are only three manufacturer teams ahead of us. So you are going to sideways or backwards.
"The thing for us is to work hard and limit the choice.”
Although Force India has Perez under contract, Fernley has clarified that uncertainty about his future relates to the fate of Mexican sponsorship deals.
“It is a pretty straightforward process but it gets complicated,” he explained.
“The drivers are both contracted for next year. Then you are talking the commercial side, because we have significant commercial arrangements with Checo [Perez]'s supporters and sponsors.
“Those are separate decisions and separate discussions. But in essence the decision to keep the driver pairing was there.
"So I would dearly hope we can keep all of his people on board. But that wasn't the priority. The priority was to keep the driver pairing.”
When asked where the team would be left if it had Perez under contract but his sponsors wanted to leave, Fernley said: “Then it is a discussion….isn't it?
"It is purely commercial. It is nothing to do with anything else.”
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