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Perez sets Suzuka deadline

NEWS STORY
29/09/2016

For as long as anyone can remember, Force India has been saying that Sergio Perez is signed for 2017 and will continue to partner Nico Hulkenberg.

However, before the summer break the Mexican said it was not a done deal as his backers - a number of Mexican sponsors - were looking at other options and would have a major say in events.

Force India continued to claim the deal was done while the Mexican continued to insist it wasn't.

While Perez has made it clear he would like to remain at Force India - which could finish fourth this season, equalling its best season finish ever (2014) - he has been linked with a number of teams including Williams and Renault.

Speaking ahead of the Malaysia Grand Prix revealed that a deal has yet to be concluded but he is now aiming to finalise everything ahead of next week's Japanese Grand Prix.

"There is no news at the moment," he told reporters. "I know every weekend I keep saying this, but I really hope that by next weekend we will know.

"It's obviously taking longer than expected," he continued, "but it's all going in the right direction, so I hope next weekend we will know. My deals are quite complicated. Obviously my sponsors have to do the deals first. We must make sure that everything is in place, and hopefully we can come into an agreement soon. Because if we don't, it will be quite difficult!

"Obviously next year we are going into the next generation of car," he continued, referring to the raft on new rules, "so it will be really crucial to have stability. And I like that, I like to spend many years with a team. You develop a relationship.

"It's not a secret that I want to be here for next year," he added, "I believe in the team. But whether it's what I get in the end, I don't know. But I'm sure I will find out before next week."

While he clearly hopes to remain with force India, the Mexican admitted that if things don't work out he will look beyond F1.

"At the moment I'm just concentrating on one team, but there are some other options on the table, quite interesting options. I hope that it works out with one team, and if it doesn't, then by next week obviously we will have to look at something else.

"I'm not worried," he insisted. "I believe that I'm in a good position. Thankfully there is a lot of interest out there, it makes you feel in a good position, just focussing on the job.

Asked if he was holding out on a decision, in order that it can be made at his home race, he replied: "I don't think I can take that long. The longer you take, the fewer options are available. People are not going to wait forever for you. I believe that next week is crucial to sort out my future."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Sepang, here.

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