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Singapore GP | Perez: "I've been in talks with McLaren, but my decision had already been made"

Force India's Sergio Perez discusses Esteban Ocon's disheartening situation as well as his own future, whose announcement is just a matter of 'days or weeks'.

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Singapore GP | Perez: "I've been in talks with McLaren, but my decision had already been made"
Fuente imagen: forceindiaf1.com

Sergio Perez is eager to race around the streets of Singapore, now that Racing Point Force India is bringing the aero updates that were overdue. "Now it is time to deliver. We are quite optimistic about the updates. Singapore is generally not the greatest track for us but hopefully we will be competitive and we can score some points with both cars."

The Mexican confirmed the front wing is not the only new part brought over by the British team: "Upgrades are going to be on the floor and bargeboards." Those can provide both drivers with an extra boost to raise the bar and catch up as much as possible on the standings. Targets have been set by Perez: "At the moment we are 7th, next target is 6th. It would be amazing to manage to beat McLaren at the end of the season."

As for his future, the Mexican confirmed everything is sorted and the only thing missing is a formal announcement. "I already know what I am doing, so it should be a matter of days of weeks before we formally announce my future. It is 100% sorted."
Rumours had suggested that he appeared on McLaren's shortlist along with Ocon and Norris and Perez confirmed it earlier today in Marina Bay. His final choice is yet to be announced, but everything seems straightforward, possibly hinting at a deal extension."I did talk with McLaren, but at the time I already knew where I was going. They seemed interested in my plans, but I knew them already. It is the best option for my future".

Going into his teammate's delicate situation, Perez mentioned Leclerc as an example of what the procedure to get into F1 has turned into. About the fact that Esteban Ocon might not find a drive, he said: "It will be very sad, because he is a great talent. We have seen it in the past, with Hulkenberg for example. It is all about timing in F1. Drivers like Leclerc are coming at the right time and boom, they are getting massive opportunities. But as for Esteban he has great support from Toto, so he is in a privileged position.

"You see these young drivers, how they come. Leclerc was from the Ferrari Academy, Esteban from the Mercedes family, Gasly from the Red Bull one. Top teams have their own programmes. Who wouldn't want to be a Mercedes programme? But timing has not helped in their programme, but still, the fact that Esteban is here thanks to Mercedes."

Being a free agent could be the right choice, but Perez believes that receiving the right back-up from a top team can make a huge difference. "I came here, I was a Ferrari driver, then I went to McLaren and I had to leave the academy. I would love to be part of the Ferrari or Mercedes programme, but at the same time that does not guarantee that you will have a top team drive."

About his unsuccessful McLaren phase, Perez says he has overcome it in the best way possible through Force India, which helped him rebuild his confidence as well as his F1 path, brick by brick. "Very few drivers recover from that and are able to rebuild a good F1 career. On one hand I was unlucky that I left the academy and put all my faith in McLaren and then things did not work out. After being nearly a Ferrari and a Mercedes driver, I found myself without a seat. But that is just F1: one day you can be very close to a top car and another day, you cannot take anything for granted. I arrived to a good place, Force India was a very small team and I think we have grown throughout the last two seasons. That is tremendously good for us."

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