Despite Sergio Perez being linked to Ferrari, Force India are “very confident” that he will stay put next season.
Following his second podium result of this season in Baku, Perez’s stock is once again on the rise.
The Mexican racer has joined the list of candidates in line to replace Kimi Raikkonen should Ferrari opt not to retain the Finn.
But despite the speculation, Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley believes Perez will stay on next season.
“I am very, very confident we will have Checo [Perez] next year, but you can never say never in F1,” Fernley told Motorsport.com. “Things can happen, especially when you are dealing with the might of Ferrari.
“If there is interest, and we don’t know of any, and there has been no approach or anything like that – so it is more media speculation than coming from the team – then you have to give full credit to Checo for getting people’s attention.
“We’ve only got four teams ahead of us, and the choice is very minimal.”
As for Force India’s driver line-up for 2017, Fernley added that the team hopes to have it locked down as soon as possible.
“I think we will always work to do it in a timely manner, but it has to be something that everybody signs up to,” he said.