Force India Formula 1 deputy chief Bob Fernley says the team is "fully committed" to keeping drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon in its line-up for 2018 despite their clashes on-track this season.

Perez and Ocon came to blows for the fourth time this year during the Belgian Grand Prix, making contact that prompted Force India to introduce new rules of engagement from the following race at Monza.

The incident led to questions about the future of the Perez-Ocon partnership at Force India, but Fernley is hopeful of keeping both at the team for 2018 as it remains on-course to match its best-ever constructors' championship finish.

"I think from our side we are fully committed to retaining them both and that will be our objective. There’s no question of that," Fernley said.

"But driver markets are driver markets, and it’s quite right and proper that their managers, and in particular Checo’s manager, is out looking at other programmes.

"He’s got to keep us on our toes. If he didn’t do that, he wouldn’t be doing his job, and we’ve got to make sure that we close that off and retain him for next year and keep the pairing.

"It’s a phenomenally exciting pairing. Might be difficult to control a little bit, but I’d like to have that problem."

Perez had hoped to have a 2018 deal in place by the end of August, but said at Spa he was "quite close" to confirming his future plans.

"As you know, every deal I do, it involves my Mexican sponsors. Right now they are in discussions," Perez added.

"Hopefully soon we can be in a position to announce something."



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