Perez keen to remain at Force India for 2016 season


Sergio Perez is keen to remain with Force India for the 2016 Formula 1 season, and expects to make an announcement about his plans before the Singapore Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

Force India announced at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that Perez had signed a new multi-year deal with the team, but is yet to confirm him for the 2016 season.

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Perez’s teammate Nico Hulkenberg had signed a new two-year contract with Force India, ensuring he will remain with the team until the end of 2017.

Perez had been linked with a move away from Force India for 2016, with Renault – who is set to take over Lotus F1 Team in the coming weeks – being tipped as a possible destination.

Speaking to reporters in Monza ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, Perez revealed that he was keen to stay with Force India and expects a new deal to be announced soon.

“The news is coming quite soon,” Perez said. “I have a contract with the team, as you know I have a group of sponsors and we’re trying to make the announcement altogether.

“We are getting to the point where very soon things should be announced, my plans should be announced hopefully before the next race.

“I am not looking at options anywhere else. I have a contract with Force India, my priority is to stay here.”

Perez joined Force India for the 2014 season after an ill-fated one-year stint at McLaren as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement that saw him struggle to adapt to life with the British team.

However, the Mexican driver has since excelled at Force India, scoring the team’s second-ever podium finish in Bahrain last year. He currently ranks 11th in the 2015 drivers’ championship.

Should Force India retain Perez, it would mean that at least five of the teams on the grid will be racing with the same line-up as 2015 for 2016.

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
Align Media

ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”