Sponsors to decide Perez's F1 future
Force India has revealed Sergio Perez's Formula 1 future is out of its hands, as it has no influence over the Mexican driver's sponsors.
While Perez does have a contract with Force India for 2017, as previously stated by team principal Vijay Mallya, Autosport has learned there is effectively an escape clause in the deal.
Given the substantial investment behind Perez from his Mexican backers, that group - in conjunction with the 26-year-old - controls his F1 destiny.
Force India is naturally hoping to retain its current line up of Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, but appreciates the ball is not in its court.
"It's a case of seeing how the promotional side goes," deputy team principal Bob Fernley told Autosport.
"We'd dearly love to keep everyone on board, but it's their decisions at the end of the day, not ours.
"Vijay's main objective is to keep the driver pairing together, and that's what we're after. "But at the end of the day everybody has to make their own minds up.
"We can only influence the drivers; we can't influence the commercial side."
Although there is a possibility Perez could leave, Fernley has confirmed there is no plan B, as it would be wrong to start talks with another driver only for Perez to stay.
"I don't think you can play that game, you have to play it straight," added Fernley.
"There's a contract in place, and unless something happens with that I don't think you can dangle a carrot to another driver. It's not fair.
"For me, we've got plan A, and plan A is what it is. If that fails only then will we have a plan B.
"You know another driver will have his future in place, and if we know that is the case then we wouldn't want to mislead them in any way."
Suggested to Fernley it would be preferable for an answer from Perez as soon as possible to allow the team the time to find a replacement, he replied: "It will look after itself. I'm not unduly worried."
Perez at least suggested that by the next race in Belgium in late August his future will be resolved.
"I will have a break to reflect on what we [Force India] have done," he told Autosport.
"It's great what we have achieved this year. "I really hope by the time I come back to Spa I can define my future.
"There are a couple of options, very attractive options, but I haven't made my decision yet."