Sergio Perez, Force India, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2018

Perez predicts “massive surprise” from Force India in 2019

2018 Mexican Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez expects big gains from Force India next year following the investment from the team’s new owners.

Speaking in response to a question from RaceFans in Thursday’s FIA press conference, Perez played down the likely impact of Lance Stroll’s widely-expected move to the team his father invested in earlier this year.

“I don’t think it will change,” said Perez. “At the end of the day the interest of all the team even the team buyer, the team owner, is that the team is very successful.

“For that we need both cars to be one hundred percent and the team to develop as quickly as possible. For that you really need full performance.

“If that happens he’s coming into a great team with great people and engineers where he’s going to grow a lot and I see great things for the team. I think we have all the guidance, we just need the budget and I think we can be a massive surprise next year.”

Mexico is holding its fourth round of the world championship since it returned to the calendar in 2015. Perez, Mexico’s only F1 driver, praised the job the promoters have done.

“It’s amazing. Since the first year we’ve had the Mexican Grand Prix it’s been big. We’ve seen in other countries that sometimes it backs away, but it doesn’t happen here.

“The people, the media, everyone is so excited about this weekend. It’s been great, you know. The amount of support that I’ve received during the weekend is amazing and I think, once again, we’re going to have an amazing grand prix.”

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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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  • 24 comments on “Perez predicts “massive surprise” from Force India in 2019”

    1. Perez has done something very good for himself when he started the administration procedure: got rid of Ocon as teammate and brought in the Strolls (Lance is probably the best team mate you’d want), so the team has lots more financial backup to develop the car next year.

      If they manage to keep the same designers and engineers in the team, but with more funds available to them, then RPF1 (or whatever they’ll be called next year) will definately be in the mix for best of the rest title.

      1. @gechichan

        To be honest. Force India is already best of the rest this year. If it wasn’t for that silly rule about docking all their points pre Spa, they would be tied with Renault and ahead of Haas, as best of the rest. So, I’m going to take Perez’s statements with a pinch of salt because the massive “surprise” next year would be if they finish ahead of Red Bull in P3, which I just don’t see happening. They still compete in Formula 1.5 , so to make the step up to F1 isn’t going to be possible for them.

        Perez has done something very good for himself when he started the administration procedure: got rid of Ocon as teammate and brought in the Strolls (Lance is probably the best team mate you’d want), so the team has lots more financial backup to develop the car next year.

        Got to agree. He’s a Wiley bugger. Got rid of the teammate who’s been the better driver, and paired up against the weakest driver on the grid. Additionally, he’s got the funds to have a competitive car next year. All of these elements put together should be a great season for him in 2019.

        1. Was thinking the same too. They already had developed parts, they just needed to pay for them to be released. The car was going to take 4th place had their name not been changed.

        2. @todfod this year, yes, they are very close with Renault and Haas for best of rest. But something tells me next year will be a lot closer in the midfield, with Sauber and Torro Rosso probably a lot stronger than 2018. Sauber will be backed by Ferrari even more next year, and with the Alfa Romeo sponsorship, the money is there. And STR will have a lot of aero & chassis parts developed together with RBR next year, so the car will be strong(er) regardless of Honda upgrades.

        3. Red Bull’s strength isn’t a guarantee next year. Sure, the Honda power unit development seems to be moving along very well, and allegedly it’s producing more power than Renault, but they’re sure to have teething issues that could hurt their overall reliability and performance. That could open the door for a surprise 3rd place for Force India (or whatever their name will be next year) if they play their cards right. Still a long shot, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility.

      2. got rid of Ocon as teammate and brought in the Strolls (Lance is probably the best team mate you’d want), so the team has lots more financial backup

        @gechichan – very nice point, I’d not seen it that way. Getting on the same side as both the Strolls has turned out to be a master stroke. Lets see if the points differential (i.e. the points that Ocon might have brought in during 2019 and Stroll might not) affects their fortunes.

      3. Guys help me out here, because I don’t understand these things very well

        The Perez that you are all talking about that pulled this masterstroke to get rid of Ocon is the same that hasn’t finished behind a teammate since 2014, despite being up against highly rated ones, has been the best of the rest two years running and to this date is ahead of Ocon in the constructors championship still with the chance of finishing best of the rest again?

        I just want to make it clear, my specs aren’t up to date

        1. @johnmilk

          I agree. His weakness early in the year can be very easily linked to the Force India’s troubles off the track especially on the finance side. His performance has been on the rise ever since the Strolls came in. It wasn’t as if Sergio invited Lawrence to buy it out and kick Esteban out. It was all about money in the end.
          I can extrapolate it even further–if Lance doesn’t do well, Lawrence will be forced to look for a replacement, and eventually sell his stake. Sergio has jumped from a sinking ship onto thin ice.

          1. Sergio has jumped from a sinking ship onto thin ice.

            @webtel – nice comment, and nice analogy :-)

        2. @johnmilk you are perfectly right, but it does not change the fact that Ocon is a hard teammate to have and their relationship was never very good, and it actually sunk to lowest point after Singapore. So when Perez started the administration procedure, he surely had a deal in place with Stroll (which probably stated who will drive the cars in 2019). So, in a way, he kind of “pulled this masterstroke”, as you sarcastically pointed out.

          I actually like Checo more than Esteban, but i can’t deny that on a pure speed basis, Ocon is faster than Perez – as he already beat Perez in the qualy battle a few races ago. Also, the points tally is a bit skewed and Ocon has been a bit more unlucky with disqualifications, technical failures or DNF (like in France where Gasly took him out, in Singapore, etc).

          1. @gechichan fair comment, but surely Ocon leaving the team is a bi-product of the situation, I don’t think Perez followed his actions to stay away from him, sure to keep his seat, but that’s pretty much it

          2. @gechichan

            he surely had a deal in place with Stroll

            Speculation? If they really had a deal, there was no need to go through a bidding process.

          3. That’s not accurate. Perez’s been very unlucky this year. See Spain 2018 and France 2018. The massive recovery in Baku from P15 to P13, overtaking Vettel among many others is something no one talks about. Race pace is Perez’s strength and definitively much better than Ocon.

            Ocon has his share of fault in the incident with Gasly and also in Singapore. Look at Ocon’s line throughout the corner. It was impossible for the rear tyres of both FI not to touch all the more so that Grosjean was also alongside Perez too.

            So far this year, Perez has been a more complete driver. His weakness, though, as you point out, is the qualifying … This is perhaps the only thing I see about Perez that prevents him from being a top driver.

      4. Perez got rid of Ocon? Really? I did not know that Sergio was the one giving the other seat to Lance, he must be very powerful in FI (sarcasm btw).
        Honestly, poeple are blinded by fanatism for Esteban…

        Checo is a very good driver who has earned his place in FI through strong results, I am actually excited to see what they can achieve next year with more funding.

        1. Honestly, poeple are blinded by fanatism for Esteban…

          If you were reffering to me, I actually never liked Ocon, don’t know why exactly, he seems a bit disingenuous and his driving is nothing very exciting. I much prefer Checo, but you have to admit that for Perez would be a lot easier to face competition from Lance Stroll instead of Ocon.

          Perez got rid of Ocon? Really? I did not know that Sergio was the one giving the other seat to Lance, he must be very powerful in FI (sarcasm btw).

          To me it felt that when the company linked to Perez started the administration procedures, Checo (or his management team together with other interested parties) had a deal already made with Lawrence Stroll to take over the team. In this deal, i’m sure they’ve specified that he keeps his seat while Ocon’s seat will be Lance’s.

    2. I think they may slip a bit. They’ve made an art form of punching well above their weight.
      I suspect that there might be a bit of overconfidence that’ll creep in.

      1. @dbradock

        They’ve always fielded some mighty midfield talents when they’ve finished best of the rest. Hulk & Perez was a very formidable line up followed by Perez & Ocon. The drivers have really been the ones punching above their weight on numerous occasions. Next year however, they have one absolutely rubbish driver in that 2nd seat who’s going to cost the team a lot of points. Luckily for Force India, Haas have a rather sub par line up themselves, Toro Rosso might have the worst driver line up on the grid and McLaren seem to get everything wrong year after year. Williams will also be fielding a questionable line up and Sauber will have a mediocre line up as well.

        Renault will be fielding the strongest midfield pairing and I’m assuming Force India’s battle will be primarily with them.

        1. Perhaps Stroll may really mature as a driver next season and surprise everyone. There is no doubt he has some speed in the most unexpected places. I think where he really suffers is when the driving becomes like serious work. But when it’s straightforwards driving, he does okay.

          1. He’s probably had two races this year where he’s driven above average. But he’s been absolutely shambolic on many occasions. He’s slower than his not so highly rated teammate in qualifying. He’s made no progress on keeping tyres laminated. He still makes rookie mistakes and crashes in to other cars.

            I expect nothing of him, and I would be surprised if he isn’t the worst driver on the grid again next year.

            1. I quite agree honestly, but I want to believe he can work harder at his weaknesses, can I say earn his seat, when he’s the one paying for it? Obviously he doesn’t like difficult situations as can be heard on many instances over the radio. F1 is not about just getting into a fast car and driving off, you can even ask Mercedes about that. There is a lot of work that goes into extracting performance from the car when you don’t like the circuit or the car’s handling.

        2. @todfod good point about the drivers. I think we sometimes underestimate the impact the driver can have (for good reason), but a few recent examples can show what a big difference there can be between them (bottas > massa > stroll, is the starkest example. hulk > gutierrez is another). If your driver regularly gives you 0.4 seconds of lap time (over another lesser driver) that is a huge advantage in qualifying in a closely packed midfield.

        3. Ambrogio Isgro
          26th October 2018, 12:07

          I think Raikkonen – Giovinazzi could surprise many people.

    3. I wonder if the “massive surprise” will just be the name change…

    4. Will be interesting to see just how long daddy is willing to spend much more than he has to date to support his son’s racing habit if Lance doesn’t really step up his game next year.

    Comments are closed.