F1 Raceweek: Perez close to revealing future, drivers call for closer competition


Plans for 2017 were at the top of the agenda at Thursday's drivers' news conference ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

A number of teams are still to confirm their line-ups for next season, while this weekend's race represents the first since Liberty Media agreed a lucrative deal to purchase the sport.

Force India's Sergio Perez was invited to comment on both matters, initially addressing his own future, which appears increasingly likely to see the Mexican stay with his current team.

"I was hoping to be able to be in a position to announce my plans for this weekend. Obviously we got some delays. But I really hope that before the next race we can definitely announce where I'll be racing," said Perez.

"I always say I'll be very happy if I can stay, if everything is fine for me to stay where I am."

Asked to reveal any advice he would give the sports' new owners, Perez added: "I think I would love to see Formula One a lot closer, the competition a lot closer, closer teams, giving the midfield teams the opportunity to be capable of winning a race, fighting for titles. I think that would be just something great for the fans."

That view was echoed by Renault's Jolyon Palmer, who said: "At the moment, we turn up for a weekend and we pretty much know maybe it's two, four, maximum six drivers can win the race. But it would be nice to turn up here and think maybe Williams can win or maybe Force India or maybe someone can put in a big surprise.

"I think that's the biggest thing which would change a lot of fan involvement and make it a lot more interesting to watch."

Palmer claimed to be none the wiser over his future, while Valtteri Bottas said: "The one thing is it is a fact that I'm going to have a new team-mate next year [with Felipe Massa having announced his retirement] .It's still not obviously confirmed if I will be with Williams or not."

Continuing a familiar theme, Sauber's Felipe Nasr said: "Right now I don't have any news. Hopefully soon but right now I don't have much to say really. All I can say, at Sauber things are moving forward. I can see the team really stepping up ... so it's still a very attractive place to be."

Daniel Ricciardo will certainly be with Red Bull next season and is optimistic regarding his chances on Sunday.

"It's obviously the next closest track to Monaco [where Ricciardo was only denied first place by a pit stop mix-up], so we look at it as a good chance to try to get the victory I've been after this season," said the Australian.

"I think it's for sure the hardest race of the year," added Sauber's Marcus Ericsson. "But I like it, it's a good challenge and you need to be really on top of your fitness. For me it's the toughest - but it's also one of the most enjoyable."