Sergio Perez has admitted he wants to firm up his Formula 1 future sooner rather than later as speculation continues to link him with a move from Force India to Renault for 2017.
Eighth in the standings with nine rounds of the 2016 F1 season remaining, the Monaco and Baku podium winner is the second highest-placed driver – after Valtteri Bottas – yet to have a firm contract for next year.
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Indeed, though Force India team principal Vijay Mallya said he expected Perez to stay at Silverstone in July, the Mexican's growing portfolio of sponsors are believed to have final say on his whereabouts, with a lucrative approach by Renault now believed to be in the offing.
The man himself, meanwhile, is refusing to give much away about the discussions – not least whether Renault and Force India are they only teams fighting for his services -, but says he would like to put pen to paper on a deal soon.
“Obviously it cannot take that long anymore because in three months the season is over, so I hope well before the season is over I know my future.”
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“I think the ball is more on our side with my sponsors, with the way we are dealing with things. It is not an easy decision, knowing what to do, but as I say I am relaxed in that respect. I am not concerned any more. In the last races I was thinking a little bit too much on that regard but now I am more relaxed, I know that whatever comes will be the best for me and that's what I'll do and I will give my best.”
Even so, Perez hints that he would be happy to remain with Force India – which is currently in the hunt for a best-ever fourth in the constructors' standings – having achieved his greatest successes with the outfit.
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“It's not that it want to leave the team, don't get me wrong. I've always said that I am very happy, that I love this team, I am very comfortable and I believe in the future of this team so I'm not making them wait or hanging or anything like that I am happy with this team but the decision is not on my side.”
“I think the team is in a good position, I'm in a good position and we both want to move forward together so hopefully it is just a matter of time before it can be solved.”