Sergio Perez is still not willing to pledge his future to Force India.
The team’s supremo Vijay Mallya made a rare paddock appearance at Silverstone last weekend where he insisted that the Mexican driver and his teammate Nico Hulkenberg are staying put for 2017.
Mallya was responding to rumours that Perez might be signed by Ferrari, who in fact are sticking with Kimi Raikkonen for at least another year.
But Perez, 26, has said in an interview with Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport that he is still in a “decisive” moment in his career.
“I knew before the season that it was an important year for me. A year that can decide my future,” said Perez, who is riding a wave of podium-winning form.
“I am 26, so I’m not the youngest anymore. If I’m not fighting to be world champion in the next few years, I would feel that my big dream will have failed. So it’s important for me.”
Asked if he needs to put that dream back on track as early as 2017, Perez answered: “There are so many good drivers and so few good cockpits. So I know that it’s not only in my hands.
“I can only do my best.”
When asked if he has set a deadline to decide his future for 2017, Perez said: “I believe by the summer break I will have a better idea of what possibilities there are. And the break gives me time to think about it.”
Perez also defended his current teammate Nico Hulkenberg, who has struggled to look as good as the Mexican this year.
“I don’t want to criticise any of my teammates,” he said, “but Nico is the best teammate I have ever had in my career. He is very complete and has virtually no weaknesses.
“Sometimes when I think I have done the best job I can, I have to admit it’s not enough to beat Nico. That has never happened to me before with any other teammate.”