Perez has been linked with a move away from Force India despite having a contract for 2017, with uncertainty over the plans of his sponsors. While Fernley has already confirmed talks would be needed if the sponsors were keen to move Perez, he says Force India can try and reduce the Mexican’s options by beating Williams to fourth place in the constructors’ championship.
Asked if Perez has a less certain future than team-mate Nico Hulkenberg despite both being under contract, Fernley told F1i: “Nico is totally committed.
“Checo is totally committed but then it is up to his backers if they want to and it is up to us to chase down and secure this fourth place and reduce his choices. Because if we’re in fourth place there are only three teams ahead of us and you’re either going sideways or backwards.
“We want to make the choice as difficult as possible, that’s how we can do it. But we’ve always said we believe Checo will be with us for 2017.”
And Fernley acknowledges that finishing fourth would also make Force India an even more attractive proposition to other drivers if Perez were to leave.
“Yeah, I’m not unduly worried about that. We know what our preference is: keep the pairing. But we’re pragmatic. If things move around or change or whatever then it won’t be a difficult seat to fill.”
Force India currently sits fifth in the standings, having closed the gap to Williams to just 15 points since introducing an upgrade to its car at the Spanish Grand Prix.