When Ferrari confirmed this morning that Kimi Raikkonen had been retained for 2017, a number of drivers found their hopes of a Maranello seat next season suddenly dashed.
One of several drivers linked with the Italian team in recent months has been Sergio Perez, the Mexican having scored podium finishes in Monaco and Baku, leading many to believe her deserves (another) chance in a front running team.
While there was no official statement from the team, stories began emerging late morning claiming that Perez would remain alongside Nico Hulkenberg at Force India, and this was subsequently confirmed by team co-owner Vijay Mallya.
Asked at the official FIA press conference for his ideal hypothetical line-up next season, Mallya, making his first appearance in the F1 paddock of the year, replied: "We are very happy with Nico and Checo. Both are signed for 2017. And really I haven't thought about it beyond that.
"We used to wait almost to the onset of winter before we announced our driver line-up but this time we signed both for 2017 well in advance," he added, "and of course today's announce by Ferrari put to rest a lot of speculation that has been taking place in the last several weeks."
However, speaking elsewhere in the paddock, Perez insisted he has yet to decide on his future and intends spending the summer break thinking about it.
"I have said it before, I haven't made up my decision on where my future will be," said Perez, according to Motorsport.com. "I want to take some time off and reflect on things over the summer break.
"Right now, the season is so intense that I don't want to waste any energy," he continued. "I want to give it all to my team because we are in a very important part of the calendar with three races in the next four weeks. That is the main target for me, to give it all and come away from these three races with a lot of points. Then I will sit down with my people and see what is best for my future."
Asked if Mallya was wrong when he claimed the team had finalised its line-up, the Mexican said: "I am not saying that. I am saying I will make my decisions on what I will do for the future.
"I am not saying what Vijay said is wrong, don't get me wrong," he added. "I haven't done any decision on my future yet."
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