Mexican driver Sergio Perez is “pretty certain” which team he will be driving for in the 2017 Formula One season, but stopped short of confirming he will remain with Force India next season.
Force India has an option to retain Perez for next season, contingent on a commercial agreement between team, driver and his personal sponsors.
“Very soon you will have an official announcement,” Perez told reporters following Saturday’s qualifying session at the Malaysian Grand Prix. “I know what I am doing for my future, but I am not in a position yet to confirm it. I am pretty certain what I’m doing, so it’s good.”
Renault had reportedly inquired about signing Perez for next season. If the Mexican stays with Force India, this will be a significant step in firming up the 2017 driver pairings across the mid-range and smaller teams.
It increased the likelihood that Renault will retain at least one of its current drivers, Kevin Magnussen or Jolyon Palmer, while the team remained in the market for an experienced team leader.
There is a 2017 vacancy at Williams to replace the retiring Felipe Massa, and teammate Valtteri Bottas is also yet to be confirmed. The future of Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso remains undecided, and the Sauber and Manor teams will seek drivers on the best commercial terms available.
The driver pairings at leading teams Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull will remain unchanged for next season.