Formula One: Force India defend Sergio Perez appointment

Sergio Perez Force India

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Force India chief Vijay Mallya says he signed Sergio Perez to drive for his team based on talent not because of the large finances he has behind him.

The Silverstone-based outfit made the shock announcement on Thursday that the 23-year-old Mexican had signed on for the 2014 season after leaving McLaren at the end of the most-recent campaign.

Perez’s arrival is likely to swell the coffers of Force India given his is backed by the Telmex communications group, while his heritage will also open up commercial opportunities in Mexico and Latin America.

While Mallya acknowledges Perez could have a big impact off the track on his team, he insists money wasn’t a motivation when signing the former Sauber driver.

“We haven’t chosen any one of our two drivers because of commercial backing at all. That’s against my basic philosophy,” he said.

“His presence opens up a whole new opportunity for us which we will exploit going forward but it wasn’t a pre-condition for us having selected him.

“I don’t believe in the pay driver concept. I had many opportunities in the past to take pay drivers. I was offered a lot of money, I said absolutely not.”

Perez will partner Nico Hulkenberg next season after the German re-signed for Force India after a year at Sauber.

The arrivals of Perez and Hulkenberg leaves Paul Di Resta’s Formula 1 future in serious doubt as he is currently without a drive for next season.

The Scot’s lack of financial backing means he is unlikely to be taken on by some of the so-called lesser teams and he may be forced to switch to a different form of motorsport to continue his career.

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