Force India expects to announce that Sergio Perez is staying for 2016 in the coming days, despite the Mexican and his sponsorship being linked to the Renault/Lotus deal.
The team has already confirmed Nico Hulkenberg for next season, but deputy team principal Bob Fernley says that the delay on Perez is simply because the deal he has to conclude with team boss Vijay Mallya is more complicated than that involving Hulkenberg.
“Vijay is finishing off the discussions with him, and I think by Singapore we should be clear to announce everything,” Fernley told this writer. “One deal is more complex, there are commercial issues involved, whereas the other is a driver contract.”
Fernley insists that driver continuity is good for the team, and says that Hulkenberg’s decision to stay was an indication of his faith in the Silverstone outfit.
“We have two drivers that get on well within the team, they’re pushing each other all the time. Both of them are excellent racers. I’m not sure that we could do better, that’s the key.
“I think that they are both very happy at Force India. Obviously Nico had a choice, and he’s made that choice, and I think it’s the same thing probably with Checo. Nico was out of contract, Checo’s is a renewal.”
Meanwhile Fernley says that the sixth and seventh place finish in Monza was the best the team could expect, given it had the fourth fastest car and there was only one retirement ahead.
“It was optimal for us, and you can’t fault optimal. It was a good race. Nico had some handling issues, he wasn’t happy with the handling of the car through all the race, so he did very well to keep Ericsson behind him for the distance, and he delivered it home. He was uncomfortable with it even when the tyres were new.”
Regarding the next race he said: “Singapore should be good, I don’t see any reason why we can’t fight for the top 10 again. What helps us now is that we’ve got a little bit of a cushion on the points, without worrying too much.”