Driver sponsorship not a criteria for Force India

Date published: October 28 2016

Although Force India won’t say no to a driver with financial support, deputy team principal Bob Fernley insists that will not be a consideration for the team when deciding Sergio Perez’s 2017 team-mate.

Force India are a driver short for next season after Nico Hulkenberg opted to sign with Renault.

Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer, Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson have all been linked to the team with Fernley saying “all of the above” are in the running.

He added to Autosport: “But the bottom line is it’s Vijay’s [Mallya] decision and we won’t discuss and review it until we can get back [from the Mexican GP] and sit down with him,” he said.

“Us speculating has no impact because at the end it’s what he says.”

And although a driver with sponsorship would be welcome, Fernley insists that will not be a deciding factor for the team.

“You are never going to turn away talent that has support with it.

“But at the end of the day, Nico hasn’t brought money in, so it’s not going to make a difference to us for our plans for next year.

“It’s a clean sheet of paper and Vijay will look at each person on merit.”