Sergio Perez, Force India, Hockenheimring, 2018

“Heartbroken” Perez says he brought Force India legal action “to save the team”

2018 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez says he is “heartbroken” by his decision to bring legal action against his Force India team to put them in administration.

The team entered administration yesterday. As RaceFans revealed, proceedings were triggered by a company linked to Perez and other Force India creditors.

In response to a question from RaceFans, Perez explained how the team had ended up in “a very difficult situation.”

“The last month or so has been extremely tough for me with the situation that our team was and in the end I ended up in the middle,” he said. “We got to a point where action had to be taken to protect the 400 people that work in the team.

“I should not really like to be involved in this because at the end of the day I’m just a driver and I’m here just to drive and try to focus. But then it got too much.

“I was asked by a couple of members of the team to go ahead and save the team and protect the 400 people that was working there. To me it was extremely hard emotionally and mentally. It’s really tough, [I] haven’t been able to focus on my driving and improving [at] being a racing driver.

“The picture is much bigger than it looks at the moment. We might go into a painful period but the outcome will be really good for all the team.”

Perez is owed over $4 million by the team. “It’s from last year, the money,” he said. However he insisted the purpose of the legal action was to protect the team.

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“There was a winding-up petition from another customer which would have closed down the team completely. Therefore I was asked to basically save the team to pull the trigger and put the team into administration. [It] has nothing to do with my outstanding amount. The only reason I’ve done it is to save the team.”

Force India’s staff “definitely” support his decision, Perez believes. “I’m sure everyone appreciates what I’ve done and if they don’t appreciate it right now because a couple of members of the team don’t know the full picture.

“If they don’t appreciate it now they will appreciate it in a week’s time. They will find out what the reason behind it. I’ve seen some quotes in the media that I’ve done it for the sake of getting my money and that has nothing to do with it. It’s mainly to protect the team.

“I’ve been put in this position. It’s not something that I’m enjoying. In the end I have to make the decision to protect the people who are working.”

“There are 400 people out there risking their jobs,” he added. “Families, team members. You cannot imagine.”

The team’s co-owner Vijay Mallya told the team in a message the administration order had come about because of Perez. Placing the team in administration jeopardises Mallya’s control of the team he has run for 10 years.

Perez has driven for the team since 2014 and scored five podium finishes for them, including one this year.

“I love Vijay, my heart is really broken because I know this is not ideal in the short term for him.

“But the big picture is really different. I have gone through a very difficult position, very difficult moment emotionally, more than mentally. For me it’s been extremely hard the position that I’ve been put in. I have to say I’m not going through a good time at the moment.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 36 comments on ““Heartbroken” Perez says he brought Force India legal action “to save the team””

    1. I admire his honesty and his strength of character – this could not have been easy.

      1. Checo, is that you?

      2. Right, I was surprised to hear that it was actually him that ¨pulled the trigger¨. I suppose it shows that the pay drive element was worse than I had imagined. If a driver can actually remove the leadership / owner like this however I believe him, the current owner is driving the team into the ground and is only just avoiding being locked up at the moment.

        A period of administration where the team is run by consultants and their debts are restructured or paid off is usually a good thing however there will likely be some redundancies as part of that process but at least most of them will keep their jobs and the team should survive and perhaps be sold to better owners.

        He might be a pay driver but he has been a ¨paid¨ driver and we all know that he is talented and good enough on merit so think he might have done the right thing here this time.

        1. Checo is not a pay driver, he has money backing of course but he would do very well in any of the top 3 teams.

        2. If he was a pay driver, how could the team owe him $4mil from last year?

          Nothing worse than people devoid of logic.

    2. Hats off to him I think, nobody wants this, whatever it takes for them to survive. It’s just such a shame that their success doesn’t bring sufficient reward for them to be stable. And as for his money, he has as much a right as anyone else to be paid, the fact it’s dates back to last year shows that he’s been more than patient.

    3. You are doing the right thing and this is the only way to push VJM out. Optimistic that this team will not go down the Marussia route. Those 400 people deserve better.

    4. – it’s a difficult situation
      – it’s not about the money
      – he wants to save the team

      repeat 5 times

    5. He’s killed his career, what team would touch him now?

      1. Stroll’s father?

      2. IndyCar needs a race in Mexico and McLaren-Indy will need a 2nd driver. Can I start a rumor?

      3. @reggio68 I see a lot of respect and admiration for what Sergio did. I don’t think too many people believe this is about the money. It’s sad that it came to this. The main culprit is Vijay. He deserves credit for starting and propelling the team to where it got 4 years ago. But since his financial troubles he’s been dead weight loss for the team. I baffles me that nobody has bought the most efficient team in Formula 1

        1. Cesar Melendez
          28th July 2018, 20:52

          For a buyer to be able to buy the team, there has to be a seller. And thé only way to take the seller out of the equation is by putting the team “into administration”, to fall into administration there has to be a creditor denying the deferral of payments and willing to risk losing some money by taking legal action. That is where Checo came in.

        2. I baffles me that nobody has bought the most efficient team in Formula 1

          @ajpennypacker but that’s just it. This ‘efficiency’, if you can call it that anymore, could be what landed them in this situation, and it’s not surprising, if they were doing better on a small budget by spending more than they had.

          One example that is publicly known, Force India have operated for years by getting FOM payments in advance. This is clearly an unsustainable way to run any business

          1. @strontium Sure. The point is that there are teams with budgets 4x bigger that have finished behind them the last several years. Yes they are in debt. But they have spent less $$ per point than anyone. That’s good engineering and management. Their liquidity issues are all due to Vijay, his legal issues, and his pride. With him out of the equation it will be exciting to see what these guys can do.

      4. what team would touch him now?

        Errrr….McLaren? After MC brought Alonso back, after what he did to them in 2007/2008, there is no low standard an F1 team wouldn’t reach.

      5. He brings sponsors, podiums and a lot of points to the team and he doesn’t deserve to get paid??? Come on

      6. He has not killed his career, he may have actually saved it. He has not done anything wrong by the sounds of it and most balanced minds will recognise that.

        Do you recall RAI threatening not to race because he had not been paid for 3 races? I have no problem with that either but he was less patient that Perez and what Perez has done here means that Force India do not go bankrupt and get asset stripped by creditors when that idiot owner goes to jail.

      7. I don’t see how this damages his career. Demanding you get paid what you are owned is not something I view as a negative thing.

      8. @reggio68, in some ways, Perez’s move has bought the team more time to survive by this move.

        Perez is right to state that the team had been issued with a winding up order from another creditor – the case can be found on the UK’s registry of legal cases – and, if that case had been successful, the team would have been declared to be insolvent and put into liquidation immediately, forcing them to shut down entirely.

        The current administration proceedings means that creditor cannot now push for the team to be put into liquidation immediately, buying them time to try and get themselves into a better position.

    6. A heroic move! I hope this is really the case and other media would cover this too. Some of them already label him a traitor.

    7. Perez pretty much built Force India success : superb car development, multiple podiums, sponsors and never mind competitive drivers or ask for preferential treatment and at the end of the day mostly outperformed them.

      Perez loves this team, he won’t have any problem getting subtantial sponsorship to make this efficient team a top team.

      1. @nickpkr251
        Perez loves his team so much that he didn’t let Ocon fight for more points last year in Canada; Perez also provoked a few incidents with his teammate and disobeyed team orders a few times.
        He doesn’t care about Force India.

        1. A few less incidents that ocon has provoced I think. And since the Canada thing he has let Ocon thru every time they asked him. Also currently ahead of him in championship.

        2. not more crashes than rosberg/ ham or ves/ric or any competitive pair is it nice tough Ocon is crashing with others instead of Perez this year

    8. Respect.

    9. It is the eye wateringly expensive world that is Formula1.

    10. I don’t like Perez as a driver(nothing against him I just prefer drivers with aggressive driving styles), but if what’s been said here true he has my full respect.

      Force India is a fantastic team, hands on the best bang for your buck team doing wonders with what they’ve got. They deserve a better future

    11. It is inconceivable that one but the best of the formula one teams (in money / outcomes ratio) has reached this situation. And that demonstrates once again the dreadful way that the pirate Bernie had to run the business.

    12. Is it true Mercedes are going to protect Force India the Ferrari Sauber way?

    13. By reading today’s communique by Perez it does sound like the one debtor that had gone to court before him and Mercedes, and could have had nefarious consequences for the team, was one of Mallya’s shell companies.

    14. Perez deserves all my respect, his words seem truly sincere when he says he is sad to have to sue his team, he does it to save 400 workers.
      He has always referred to the team with a lot of gratitude, it must have been hard to face that situation, all my respect.
      I think that Checo is a great driver, with great race pace, he always receives criticism, but he is the only driver, who is not from a big team, who has climbed to the podium more than twice, that alone is already a great achievement.
        …please remind me which was the last driver of a small or medium team that has risen to the podium more than twice in recent years, please.
      Perez is a great driver, but this time he is showing that he is still a better person.
      Congratulations Checo, you just show courage.

    15. Support!

    16. One of the things I love about this site is that stories are presented factually and fairly.

      Dieter reported the facts and then they reported Perez’s response. Both articles have been presented brilliantly and is a credit to the RaceFans team.

      Well done and well done also to Perez for explaining his position so clearly. Many others would hide behind their press officers and say nothing.

    Comments are closed.