Sergio Perez says the financial struggles of Force India were “evident on day one” when he visited the factory before the 2014 season.
After a difficult season at McLaren, Perez switched to Force India for 2014, the team where he remains today under its new identity.
Force India collapsed in 2018 but were saved when a consortium headed by Lawrence Stroll purchased the team and renamed them Racing Point.
And from 2021 the team will rebrand again to be called Aston Martin after Stroll bought a stake in the sportscar manufacturer.
The team’s financial state is now far more stable, and Perez recalled how different the situation was when he first visited the Force India factory.
“It was evident since the time, day one, I came to the team,” he told Autosport.
“I came from McLaren and I remember the first time I visited the factory at Force India was a shock straightaway because I could see the deficits they had on money and so on.
“But as soon as we hit the track, I could see that there was a lot of potential in the team – everyone was very hungry for success.
“And [although] the financial troubles were very evident since we walked in, I think the people inside the team are tremendously talented.
“The level of engineering the team has, the level of management at the top levels – it’s a very capable team. And that made me feel very excited about the project.
“In my third race with the team [the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix], I was back on the podium.
“And since then, it really changed everything.”
2020 will be Perez’s seventh season with the team, and he admitted that he never expected to be there for so long.
“I would never have imagined to be that long with the team,” he admitted.
“Because pretty much, up to now, every year was a year renewal – a year-by-year [contract].
“Every year I thought that was going to be my last – that I was going to change team.
“But then to look back, it’s been incredible that ride we’ve had.
“We had some ups and downs, but yeah, we’ve been tremendously successful.
“I think now we get the big opportunity – to be partnering with Aston Martin.”