Force India boss Vijay Mallya today confirmed that the team will retain its current driver line-up for the 2015 Formula One season by giving Sergio Perez an extension, something they have already done in the case of Nico Hulkenberg.
Perez has expressed on numerous occasions that he is happy to do a second season at Force India after scoring the team’s second-ever podium in Bahrain earlier this season.
Asked whether Force India will have the same pair of drivers next season, Mallya, speaking to PTI from Austin, said “absolutely”.
The Indian businessman went on to say, “I have said many times before during the year when I have been asked that I am very happy with the drivers line-up that we have at the moment.”
Force India had announced last month that Hulkenberg will remain with them. The German returned to the Silverstone squad after doing a season with Sauber.
The official announcement on Perez is expected anytime soon. Besides impressing the team with his driving skills, the presence of the Mexican driver has helped Force India attract many sponsors from the North American country.
With Mexican Grand Prix set to return in 2015 after 23 years, having Perez as one of their drivers will help Force India expand their fan base in the region.
“We already have a Mexican driver, top class Mexican companies as our sponsors. I spent the last week in Mexico, we have signed three additional Mexican sponsors as there is going to be a race there next year,” said Mallya during the United States Grand Prix over the weekend.
India’s connect with F1 has diminished with no Indian driver on the grid since 2012 and no signs of return for the Indian Grand Prix.
Ever since 16-year-old from Jehan Daruvala has joined the Force India Academy, Mallya has backed teenager to make it to F1.
Daruvala impressed driving karts in Europe and will now be moving to single seaters next season. Mallya feels that Daruvala could be in F1 as early as two years.
“Jehan has done very well. He has every reason to be proud of his achievements. We at Sahara Force India are very proud of his accomplishments. I think he will continue to do well.
“He is naturally talented but for the next two years, he needs to get more and more experience in single seater racing cars and more powerful cars and after that if he continues this upward trajectory of development then F1 will be waiting for him,” said Mallya.
Asked whether Force India is ready to give Daruvala the biggest break of his career, Mallya said “absolutely”. (PTI)