Sergio Perez has been confirmed at Force India for 2016.
Lotus had expressed an interest in Perez and his Mexican sponsorship, but he had always indicated that his preference was for continuity and staying with his current team.
“I am very happy to confirm that I will be staying with Sahara Force India,” said Perez. “It means I can simply focus on the important stuff – driving the car and scoring points for the team. Since coming here I’ve really grown as a driver and I feel I’m performing at my best. I’ve always said I want to establish myself in a team and it’s the right moment to announce my commitment for the future with Sahara Force India. I can feel the potential in the team and there is a good energy, which gives me confidence for next year. I think we can continue to deliver strong results and I will do my best to help drive the team forward. I also want to say ‘thank you’ to Telmex and Telcel for their continued support, which has played an important role in my journey over the last ten years.”
His negotiations with the team were complicated by the fact that they happened in parallel with commercial arrangements, which is why Nico Hulkenberg’s deal was done some time ago.
“One deal is more complex, there are commercial issues involved, whereas the other is a driver contract,” Force India’s Bob Fernley told this writer in Monza.
“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.”
The news leaves Jean-Eric Vergne and Kevin Magnussen as the drivers most likely to replace Romain Grosjean should the last-named be confirmed at Haas.