Sergio Perez came close to leaving Force India F1 team for 2017

Sergio Perez says he came close to leaving Force India when negotiations took a bad turn but ultimately decided it was best to stay on board for 2017

Sergio Perez came close to leaving Force India F1 team for 2017

The Mexican was heavily linked with a move to Renault as discussions regarding commercial agreements between Perez's backers and Force India dragged on.

But after months of uncertainty, Perez finally confirmed the deal to stay at the team, with Esteban Ocon later announced as his team-mate to replace Nico Hulkenberg.

"It came to a position where I really thought about [leaving]," Perez told Autosport.

"At one time, the negotiations were not going so smoothly with Force India.

"My target was stay for another year but in this business you never know.

"Until you sign and announce it, anything can happen and I had that experience before."

Perez said "there was some interest from other teams, not only Renault" which really boosted his confidence.

"I want to thank all of them because as a driver to feel like other teams want you is very special," he said.

"There was a lot of interest from at least three or four teams out there, so that was really nice.

"But the best future for me is staying here."

Perez moved to McLaren in 2013 after scoring podiums for Sauber, only to struggle as the team's form dipped, leading to a difficult season that he subsequently admitted damaged his reputation.

He said that experience "definitely" helped him decide to stay at Force India, adding: "I don't want to get that decision wrong again so this is the safest option for me.

"I'm still 26 and I believe I have good years ahead of me so let's see how the next generation of cars is and what happens next."

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