'Checo' Perez extends Force India stint

'Checo' Perez extends Force India stint

'Checo' Perez extends Force India stint

Singapore (AFP) - Sergio Perez has extended his Force India contract into 2018, the Formula One team said on Sunday, prolonging his sometimes fractious partnership with team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Perez and Ocon have had their differences and this season they became embroiled in a row over team orders, and collided at both Azerbaijan and Belgium, before burying the hatchet.

However, Perez is Force India's most successful driver to date with four podiums, and the 27-year-old Mexican said it wasn't a hard decision to extend his contract.

"Staying with Sahara Force India was always my priority. It's a team that has allowed me to show my talents as a driver and I feel very happy here," Perez said in a statement.

"I'm proud of everything we have already achieved together and I think there is more to come. The team has done an amazing job this year to develop the car and establish our position as the fourth best team in Formula One.

"In the end it was an easy decision to continue our journey together."

'Checo' Perez impressed with Sauber after he entered F1 in 2011 and he graduated to McLaren in 2013, before joining Force India a year later. He is currently seventh in the drivers' standings.

Force India team principal and managing director Vijay Mallya called Perez "one of the quickest and most consistent drivers on the grid".

"Alongside Esteban, retaining Sergio gives us stability going into next season and one of the most exciting driver pairings in Formula One," Mallya said.