Sergio Perez says his prospects for 2014 are looking up – and he says that he has a “95%” chance of having an F1 seat next year.
Like everyone else Perez has been linked with Sauber, Force India and Lotus. The Swiss team would appear to be the main candidate at the moment, with Carlos Slim discussing the possibility of Checo teaming up with Esteban Gutierrez – although the alternative scenario is that the two drivers are in effect fighting for the same backing.
“It’s definitely looking better than it was seven days ago,” said Perez this afternoon. “We have made some progress in that respect, which is positive. But as we all know in F1 if you don’t have the contract, there’s still nothing there. I’m confident that I will get a seat that will keep me very motivated to achieve my dreams in F1.
“There are some options, and one of them is going back to Sauber. But there are other options that we are looking at at the moment. Force India can be another option as well, but nothing really deep in discussions. All the teams that haven’t announced a driver, for sure we are looking to see what can be the best option for my future.”
Asked to quantify his chances of being in F1 next year, he said: “Very high, I will say 95%, but the other five is still high, and to have 5% is still a lot. I might be here, I might not, but I’m pretty confident that I will be here.”
He made no secret about the role sponsorship will play in proceedings.
“We all know, there is no secret that if you are not in the four top teams all the rest are struggling financial-wise. It obviously helps, but also my talent helps, and at the end of the day I believe I’m a very strong package, so I should be in a good position to find a good seat.
“I’m very fortunate my country is behind me, they are really supporting me to stay in F1. That definitely helps.”
Asked by this writer if he was in competition for backing with Esteban Gutierrez, he denied that was the case.
“I think we’re in a fortunate position, both of us, that we can get a good financial package. When I left Sauber he came to my seat, and it was a fortunate position for him. But everything was pretty much said and done. I don’t see him as competition to see who gets more backing. I think we’re in a fortunate position, Mexico is a strong country, and Mexico is very passionate about F1.”
Perez says the door to return to Sauber has always been open.
“I always try to leave my teams in the best possible terms, just as I’m leaving McLaren. Life is very long in F1, and you never know where you are going to end up. I just try to be a professional driver, and a good person.”
He also made an interesting comment about the role engines might play in his choice: “I think the engine is going to be important, but more is the team. How the team is doing financial wise, how much they have prepared the car for next year, there are certain aspects. They might have done a great job this year, but you never know how they’ll do next year. It’s very important that we look at all the factors together and try to decide the best possible option.”
There has also been some contact between Ganassi and the Perez camp, but the driver denies that he’s been directly involved.