Sergio Perez chats to Crash.net about his season so far with Force India, why it has been one of the toughest of his career, and how he became the "architect" in the team's rescue over the summer.

Sergio, you enjoyed your 150th F1 start in Russia last month, another milestone crossed - how does it make you feel? 

Sergio Perez: Old! It feels good to look back and see how long the trip has been in Formula 1. The success, the whole career that I’ve had up to now you know, although I want more and I believe my talent, my speed deserves more, I’m also conscious how hard this world is, and how difficult, how few opportunities there are. I feel proud about that achievement. They are many years, and I hope a couple more to come.

Over 150 starts and a lot of seasons, would you say this year has been the toughest with everything going on at Force India?

SP: Yeah. Definitely. I would put it up there with McLaren as one of the toughest out of the career. It was mentally very demanding. There was so much going on behind the scenes. I ended up being not just a driver of the team, but also… in a way the architect of the team, on how many things we have to deal with. It was very demanding, the start of the season, middle of the season. Definitely I would put it amongst my most toughest out of the career in F1.

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Now into final part of the season, can you relax a lot more now?

SP: Now I can just focus on performance, on being a racing driver, which as a driver is what ultimately you want to do, just focus on racing.

You said before about being the ‘theoretical’ P4 in the championship - if you can achieve that, will it be even sweeter given all that has happened, and a bigger achievement than the previous P4s?

SP: That’s the target, to finish theoretically. I always said my mathematical numbers are going to be based on the whole season. With those numbers, if we manage P4 in the championship, and we manage to beat the others, I will be very pleased with that.

Will it be better than the last two P4s?

SP: I wouldn’t take anything away from the others, but certainly this is one of the best ones - if it happens.

Said about being the architect of the team - how have you seen the team come together and be a really strong unit? That has always been one of Force India’s strengths in the past, but I guess this year it has been even more important?

SP: The most important. When you see what the team went through… nobody left, nobody left the team. That’s down to the good people we have running the team. Also everyone believes and everyone feels very happy working in this. Nobody stopped believing that at one point, it was going to be sorted. It was not easy for so many people to have so much uncertainty on whether they were going to have a job or not for the next race. A big thanks to everyone for believing in the team, and also to the bosses of the team. They’ve done a fantastic job keeping everyone together.

Does that give you hope for the future as well when you guys are trying to rebuild and move further up the field? You’ve got this strong unit that has survived this, so it can survive pretty much anything.

SP: Yeah, definitely. I believe that we are in good shape. We are in a good place, so we should be very strong. Definitely we should be a team to watch for the future.

When you heard there were difficulties in the team, personally, did you feel low? Or did that trigger your energy?

SP: It was very hard. There were some decisions that I had to make in order to save the team, first of all. But at the same time, risking the team in a way. It was not easy, not easy for the team as well. For myself, for a racing driver, doing these things, I don’t remember any other driver was in such a difficult position. I’m happy with how everything turned out and the direction that the team has now. That gives me the happiness that I took the right decisions for everyone in the team.

When the news came out saying you were taking the action, there was quite a lot of backlash online. Was that quite hard to deal with?

SP: It was very hard at the time because I was very worried about the team members, thinking that I did this for my benefit and not thinking about them. I actually spoke with all of the team members to say the reasons behind it. They really showed all their support to me, from mechanics, from everyone, working in this team. They all showed their support on this, and I’m just very glad that now the team has a great future, and that basically thanks to the big decision that I took. I’m very happy, and nobody needs to thank me for anything, because I just did this for the benefit of all these people.

Does it feel like a new team now? Does it feel more ‘Racing Point’ than Force India?

SP: It does. When you see how the team is running now, operationally, and how things are going along, this is really a racing team. We went through a very difficult period where everything was stuck on standby. Performance was the last thing that the team was worried about. It’s just amazing to see how well we’ve done during that time. We got a podium, we got so many great memories, so I’m very pleased with that.

Are you still finding F1 fun and attractive?

SP: Yeah definitely. Just driving these cars around Suzuka, you don’t need more. It’s a lot of fun. Being on the limit, it’s fun, it can be better, definitely, I’m not saying no, but I love what I do and I love Formula 1. But I believe there is room to be even better.

Are there other career things you want to do post-F1? Are IndyCar or Le Mans the kind of things you would like to do?

SP: Not really. Not at the moment. Right now, I haven’t even thought about it. I want to have a good career in Formula 1, and then see what comes next, if I want to still be racing. At the moment, none of that really interests me. I really think Le Mans, it’s a nice race to do. IndyCar would be great, but the ovals, I think when you don’t grow up with them, it’s a culture. I grew up in Europe in single-seaters, I never did anything in the States, so I think after so many years in Formula 1, to go into the ovals, race after race, I think I wouldn’t do that. Definitely that’s out of my plans. For the moment, I think after I finish Formula 1, I will stop for a couple of years and see if I still need the racing. I think racing drivers can’t really stop! That’s the only thing. I’ll try to stop and enjoy my family for a couple of years, and then see.

Are you getting a good buzz out of this F1 midfield fight at the moment? Fernando Alonso has said he’s bored of fighting for eighth or ninth, but there’s so much close competition between you guys.

SP: Yeah, it’s great. I’m enjoying it. If you are perfect, you can be best of the rest. If you are not, you are out of the points. For us, we’re fighting for the win in those races. We all want to be fighting for the win, but we don’t have a car capable of doing that. It’s a great fight at the moment. The points are so close. There are five drivers fighting to be best of the rest. It’s enjoying, it’s a competition. It’s good.

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