Force India have for the past few seasons been the underdog most F1 fans like to cheer for. Their finishing positions in the constructors’ championship during the hybrid era have been P6 in 2014, then P5, P4 and again in 2017 P4.
It could be that part of the F1 love has been offered as a compensating factor for the difficulties the team has faced being run by International fraudster [alleged] and rogue – Vijay Mallya.
Another explanation could be the respect race fans and pundits alike had for Nico Hulkenberg. Many consider him to be F1’s eternal bridesmaid and there is a belief that Ferrari would be better served by having a driver line-up that includes the Hulk rather than Kimi Raikkonen.
Sergio Perez is as equally bemused by his own failure to attract the top F1 teams’ attentions.
“I don’t know the reason for that,” he comments. “I think I’ve been doing a very strong job in the past seasons so in that side there is not a lot I can do. It’s hard to show.
“I finish in the last two years seventh in the championship, in the front mix. So it’s hard for people to realise but I’m sure when they look at the performance”.
And in 2016 he finished ahead of much loved team mate Hulkenberg, bringing home 101 points to the German’s 71.
“It’s not a coincidence I’ve beaten good drivers such as Hulkenberg, the time we spent together. I believe I can be as good as anyone out there,” says Perez.
Rumours swirled around the paddock in Spielberg 2016 that Perez had been in talks with Ferrari to replace Kimi, following Force India’s two podiums in 3 races. But it appears those whispers were whipped up by Perez’s management in an effort to move his contract talks forward.
Former McLaren team manager, Jo Ramirez has said of his fellow Mexican, “The syndrome of becoming an F1 driver went to his head very fast.
“Checo grew a lot as a driver during the last three years in F1, but unfortunately he didn’t grow as a person at the same rate,” he added.
Brazilian F1 correspondent Livio Oricchio agrees. “The relationship between the Mexican and McLaren never took off. Formula one is not just about commitment; it’s more than that. Its interaction, working together, two sides committed to the same goals; winning and losing together.
“Perez is not the kind of man who does that,” he said.
Oricchio claims his sources at both McLaren and Perez’s former team Sauber, confirm that Perez “has an arrogant attitude”.
Yet Sergio isn’t giving up on his dream. “I still have my aim one day I will get the chance to fight for the best possible results because I believe I am as good as anyone here,” he said.
“But in Formula 1 it’s so much down to the potential of your team and your car. I hope that soon I can get an opportunity to show my full capacity.”
Force India have 1 point thus far in 2018 and that was scored by Perez’s team mate Ocon, who looks to be an upcoming talent. Having been the best of the rest for the past two years, its unlikely Force India will ever be better than they have been and so Perez’s call to action seems rather pointless.
The stark reality is that Sergio Perez is now in his 8th year in Formula 1 and is now unlikely to get a drive for anyone other than an underfunded team, where his billion dollar backers are the ones who make the real difference.
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