Sergio Perez is confident Force India can “make the next step” clear of the midfield in 2019 after committing to the team for next season.
Force India has finished fourth in the constructors’ championship in each of the past two seasons and would be fourth again this year had it not lost its points prior to the Belgian Grand Prix after entering administration. Perez will enter his sixth season with the team next year and sees the investment from new owner Lawrence Stroll’s consortium as giving Force India the possibility to get closer to the top three teams.
“It’s always good to be able to speak about your future, especially once you know it for a long time,” Perez said. “I’m pleased with that — I’m thankful with the team. It’s going to be my sixth season, it’s hard to believe; we’ve been very successful in the past and I believe the future is going to be even more successful so I’m really excited.
“I think the level of investment (will be different), where the team is going to start the season, the development rate… We have big expectations as well — we have to deliver to a new level. I hope we can make the next step. Since I joined the team, we’ve made good progress in the last couple of years.”
Perez highlights the recent performances despite financial concerns as the reason he believes Force India will make a clear step forward next year, with Stroll ensuring there is a bigger budget to work with on the 2019 car.
“It’s going to make a big difference where the team will start. We generally have a good package but it comes really late in the season. We should be having a strong baseline from race one onward, and that should make a big difference.
“Saying that, I can’t take anything away from the team. We’ve been extremely successful with the limitation we’ve had — the last two years we’ve been best of the rest. The team has been fourth. There’s plenty of encouragement and big expectations.
“Lawrence (Stroll) is really enthusiastic and very optimistic about the team and willing to take this team to the next level — he understands racing, he believes a lot in what he has bought. I want to be part of this next generation of the team; we have very promising times ahead of us.”