Sergio Perez: ‘There Are No Politics’ In Force India

Sergio Perez waits out a rain delay during practice for the United States Grand Prix. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Sergio Perez waits out a rain delay during practice for the United States Grand Prix. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Driver Sergio Perez believes that Force India’s improving results were made possible because the politics Formula One is notorious for don’t exist within the team.

Things are looking good for Formula One squad Force India. After finishing a team-best fifth in the constructors’ standings last year, Force India have continued to trend upward in 2016. This season, Perez and teammate Nico Hulkenberg are locked in a head-to-head war with Williams for fourth place.

Speaking to earlier this week, Perez said that he attributes his team’s growth to the fact that Force India doesn’t play the politics game.

“It is the structure of the team. I think the people, technically, we have very good people,” he said. “There are no politics in the team so people are allowed to do their job.

“It makes a massive difference in the environment of the team. Everyone is working to be better as a team and that is a key to it.”

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Perez thinks that there are advantages to being a smaller Formula One outfit, explaining that having large budgets and a multitude of staff could sometimes be as detrimental as it is constructive.

“I think when you have big teams with a big amount of budget and a big amount of people, it is a nice thing to have. But it can very easily work against you,” he added.

“It is important to have a good structure with good people, and we have very key people in each role who do their job properly and that makes a massive difference in the team, having good team bosses.”

It’s been a quick turnaround this season for Perez, Hulkenberg and the rest of the Force India team. They began the 2016 campaign scoring only 13 points through the first five grands prix, but have since come alive, scoring 95 points in nine races, including two podium finishes.

Perez said the sudden turnaround was powered in part by the team’s identification of plagued spots on the VJM09, such as the car’s reputation for creating issues around tire degradation.

“To look back and see the season we have had, the podiums with great racing, it has been a really, really strong year,” he declared.

“We knew we had a competitive car but we were suffering a lot with tyre degradation with some of the areas of the car that we identified early on. That was a massive key, that we focused so much on weak areas of the car early in the year.”

Things are not so clear-cut elsewhere in the paddock. One of the teams Perez was rumored to join, Renault, revealed that they will delay announcing a driver line-up for 2017 while they take more time to evaluate the talent that is available.

The French manufacturer had originally said a decision would be made this month about re-signing Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer or if they would opt to bring in a new driver. Renault was on record as being interested in acquiring the services of Perez and Stoffel Vandoorne for next season; however, Perez is expected to remain at Force India and McLaren announced at the Italian Grand Prix that Vandoorne would be promoted next year as Jenson Button steps out of his race seat.

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While Renault have been adamant about finding a young driver to build the future of the team around, team principal Fred Vasseur said the situation surrounding the matter has evolved, which is why the team are taking extra time to evaluate its options.

“There is no deadline, we can do it one week before [the test in] Barcelona next year,” Vasseur told“For sure, we are probably more focused on young drivers than old ones or more experienced drivers, because we have a mid-term project. I would like to be able to find the drivers of 2020, not the one of 2010.”

Newly minted Manor driver Esteban Ocon is believed to be a clear favorite to land a seat at Renault in 2017. Carlos Sainz, despite being re-upped by Toro Rosso, has also been touted as a possibility for the team. And Williams have yet to confirm they will pick up the 2017 option for Valtteri Bottas, so there are certainly possibilities for Renault to consider.

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But Vasseur made one thing clear: whomever the team elects to go with needs to be a motivator for his teammates and the team staff.

“The driver has to be a catalyst of the system, capable of motivating the guys,” he said. “Behind him he has a thousand guys on the chassis and engine.

“If a driver through motivation is able to extract a little bit more from everybody, then he will be a huge success. The more you move forward [up the ladder] in racing series, the more these skills are important,” he continued. “To bring everybody around him, to convince everybody at the team and so on. For sure, in F1, you need to have this attitude.”