Force India and Perez contract talks in final stretch

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez is close to renewing his allegiance to Force India for 2018, according to the team's chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer.

Before the summer break, during the Hungarian GP weekend, Perez said he wanted his future sorted by Spa, and a new deal now appears to be around the corner.

"We haven't quite signed Sergio yet but we're not far off," Szafnauer said.

"I think we can get it done by Spa. The high likelihood is that we're going to stick with our two drivers but I can't say that 100% because not both of them are signed."

After two seasons with Sauber and  one with McLaren, Perez joined Force India in 2014 and has been a consistent top-ten contender ever since.

Earlier this summer, speculation put the Mexican on Ferrari's short-list for 2018, but that prospect has since been discarded as the Scuderia appears set to extend the contract of both its drivers.

Williams is also considered a viable option for Perez however, a move which would Force India to execute a contingency plan which could include Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein whose future is uncertain at Sauber.

"There's always got to be a plan B," says Szafnauer.

"So, if for some reason we don't sign Checo – but I believe we will – then you've got to look around, including Wehrlein. He's not so bad!"

Force India's preference is to keep its current foundation intact and continue to imporve its performance.

"I think the drivers will get better because they'll learn more, I think the engine will get better because Mercedes upgrade every year," adds the American manager.

"The pink - I don't know how much more pink it can be because it's pretty pink! But we're working hard on getting the car to go quicker.

"There's some things we can do in the short term which we will do and I hope that relative to the top three we'll be closer next year."

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