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Perez on brink of new F1 deal for 2017

Associated Press Associated Press 16/09/2016 By CHRIS LINES, AP Sports Writer
Force India driver Sergio Perez of Mexico, speaks during a press conference ahead of Sunday's Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on the Marina Bay City Circuit, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) © The Associated Press Force India driver Sergio Perez of Mexico, speaks during a press conference ahead of Sunday's Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on the Marina Bay City Circuit, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

SINGAPORE — Mexican driver Sergio Perez expects to announce his 2017 Formula One plans before the month is out, with a new contract at his Force India team the likely scenario.

Perez had been ready to announce a deal at the Singapore Grand Prix this week, but contractual details were not finalized.

"We got some delays, but I really hope that before the next race we can definitely announce where I'll be racing," Perez said.

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

His strong performances this season — he leads teammate Nico Hulkenberg by 16 points and has led Force India's challenge for fourth in the constructors' championship — fostered interest from rival teams, but Perez is bullish about his team's prospects under the new F1 design regulations in 2017.

"When we had the massive regulation change for 2014, on my third race I was on the podium for the team, so it shows that Force India is capable of adapting well to new regulations," Perez said.

"Hopefully next year, we can do another step forward, which is going to be very tough. Now you're fighting Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, so it's going to be very tough but I fully believe in the team."

Less certain about their futures are Renault drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer, who have received no indication from the team whether they will be contracted next season.

"I don't know what's going on behind the scenes," Magnussen said. "I've read in the press that there's been a delay and the decision could take a long time.

"I was hoping for a decision between these two races, but clearly it hasn't come and things are taking longer than I hoped for."

Palmer was also in the dark about his future.

"I'll know when I know," Palmer said. "I know I'm in the mix but we'll just see how things pan out.

"Every race from now on is a chance to show what I can do."

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