Perez again hints at wanting change of team

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Force India's Sergio Perez has once again indicated that he's looking for an alternative race seat on the Formula One starting grid.

Team principal Dr Vijay Mallya said at the British Grand Prix that a deal extending Perez' tenure at the team for 2017 had already been signed, but Perez later responded that was not necessarily the case.

And last week the Mexican driver hinted that his ambition to contend for a world championship title meant that he needed to be looking at a race seat with a bigger team, rather than staying at Force India for another campaign.

"I know that to become a world champion in Formula One I need to move further up the grid. Whatever happens, whether the opportunity comes or not, who knows?" he told GPUpdate in an exclusive interview.

Perez' name has been linked with teams including Renault and Williams, although a rumoured chance to drive for Ferrari ended when the Scuderia confirmed that they had re-signed Kimi Raikkonen alongside Sebastian Vettel.

Perez admitted that it be hard to find an opening in one of the big teams in the sport. He had the opportunity to race for McLaren in 2013, but the team was in a transitional year and Perez struggled to get the results that would have kept him at the team for a second season.

"I think I arrived at McLaren at the worst possible time," Perez said. "It was a tough time, a tough time mentally for me to recover.

"I joined McLaren because it is a big team, but the car wasn't at the level of the team," he continued. "If I ever go to a top team again, no one guarantees me that the car will be a top car, but I have to work around that car and make the best out of that car to prove to that team that I'm a top driver."

After that career misstep, Perez could easily have found himself out of Formula One for good - until the offer to drive for Force India came up.

"What Vijay did for me to save my Formula One career, and the whole team since I arrived here, is huge," he acknowledged.

A podium on his third outing with the team at Bahrain - and three more since, a considerable achievement for a midfield team like Force India - has convinced Perez that he's finally ready for the big time now.

"Obviously I'm not the same guy as I was three years ago. I've grown not only in age, but as a driver and a person, the way I see life and the way I see the sport.

"I think I have learned hugely, how to be a leader of a team and how to work with the big teams."

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