Sergio Perez admitted that he is “close” to signing a new contract which will keep him on the grid for the 2018 Formula One season, but also that he is becoming frustrated at being overlooked by top teams following the confirmation Kimi Raikkonen will stay with Scuderia Ferrari next F1 championship. The Mexican is currently seventh in the F1 drivers’ standings as the highest placed driver outside the ‘big three’ Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull teams, and was earmarked as a potential – albeit outside – contender for a Ferrari driver if it decided against re-signing Raikkonen.
However, with Finn getting another extension for 2018, Sergio Perez says he is turning his attentions to securing his 2018 F1 future, which is expected to see him remain with Force India for a fifth consecutive year.: “I’m quite close. As you know, every deal I do, it involves my Mexican sponsors. Right now they are in discussions. Hopefully soon we can be in a position to announce something. I think looking now, hopefully once we go into Asia, I’ll have my future secured. I’m in no hurry. I know that I’m in a good position. I want to focus on extracting the performance out of the car and having good weekends.” – the Mexican driver explained.
Asked whether he was disappointed to see Scuderia Ferrari play it safe with Kimi Raikkonen again, though Sergio Perez admits he wasn’t surprised by the decision, he doesn’t consider it any less frustrating to see big opportunities taken away: “I was expecting it. I think it’s always the same case. If there is an opportunity in a top team, it’s very rare. Look at Bottas, how he ended up in Mercedes. There are not many seats. It is frustrating for me, but it’s the way the sport is at the moment, with simply a team or two teams being able to compete for the top, and then this big margin behind. If you are not in those two teams, then it’s very difficult. You’re in the same position as everyone else around you.”
Despite the situation and being overlooked by the Maranello team for 2018, Sergio Perez adds that he holds no grudges against Scuderia Ferrari for choosing Kimi Raikkonen despite his indifferent form over the last four seasons: ‘I think it’s totally up to them. I think there’s a lot of talent on the grid. Kimi is also a very talented guy, so I don’t think it’s a lack of talent from anyone.”