He added that he doesn’t have a ‘plan B’ in terms of driving for 2021, and that the move ‘hurts a bit as I’m betting on the team during very difficult times’ – referring to the period in 2018 when the team went into administration, before being bought by a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll.
In a statement, he said: “Everything in life always has a beginning and an end, and after seven years together my time with the team will end after this season.
“It hurts a bit because I bet on the team during very difficult times; we managed to overcome the obstacles and I am very proud to have saved the jobs of several of my teammates. “
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And with Lance Stroll, son of team owner Lawrence, also driving for the team, it seemed likely that if Vettel joined in with him, Perez could be the one to give way. Right after Perez’s announcement, the team confirmed he would leave once the current season is over.
Team principal Otmar Szafnauer said: “Checo has been part of the Silverstone family for seven years and by that time became one of the most complete riders on the grid. Very fast on Saturday and Sunday, he established his reputation as a tenacious runner and together we had a fantastic time.
“If there had ever been a podium sniff, Checo was ready to pounce, and these five podiums represent some of the greatest days in this team’s history.
Perez, who was forced to drop two races this year after testing positive for Covid-19, joined the team in 2014 after a season with McLaren.
“I will always be grateful for the opportunity given to me by Vijay Mallya, who believed in me and allowed me to continue my F1 career with Force India,” he said.
“I don’t have a plan B. My intention is to keep racing here, but it would depend on finding a project that motivates me to keep giving my 100% every lap.”
You can read his full statement in the Tweet above.