Sergio Pérez admits he is heartbroken after taking the legal action that forced the Sahara Force India F1 Team to be put into administration earlier this week, but he feels it was important to do to prevent the team from going out of business.
The Silverstone-based team went into administration on Friday after action from the Mexican and from major sponsor BWT, while there was also support from the team’s engine suppliers Mercedes–Benz.
Perez says that the intention of the legal action was to offer some protection to the future of the team and is not motivated by not being paid by them or team owner Vijay Mallya.
“I end up in a very difficult situation,” Pérez is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “The last month or so has been extremely tough for me, with the situation our team was [in], and I end up in the middle.
“We got to a point where action had to be taken, to protect the 400 people that work in the team. I should not really like to be involved in this because at the end of the day I’m just a driver, but it got too much and I was asked by a couple of members of the team to go ahead and save the team.
“There was a winding up petition from another customer, which would have closed down the team completely. Therefore, I was asked to basically save the team – to pull the trigger and put the team into administration.
“It has nothing to do with my outstanding amounts. The only reason I’ve done it is to save the team, and for the better future of the team.
“It was extremely hard, emotionally and mentally. It’s really tough. I haven’t been able to focus on my driving. I don’t really understand all the terms with the lawyers, but certainly the bottom line of this is that we either do this or the team will have gone bust.”
Pérez says he has yet to talk to Mallya about what has gone down this past week, but he says taking the route he did has broken his heart, mainly due to the love and respect the Mexican has for the team owner who has been his boss since back in 2014.
He has secured five podium finishes in that time and has twice finished seventh in the Drivers’ Championship in 2016 and 2017, breaking the 100-point barrier in both campaigns. He currently sits tenth in the 2018 standings, with a podium coming in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix back in April.
“Personally, I love Vijay,” said the Mexican. “My heart is really broken because I know this is not ideal in the short-term for him.
“We are all aware of the situation Vijay is going through. He is going through a very difficult time, not just legally but also financially. The team was not sustainable anymore, so when I was basically a guy who could do something for the team, I had to do it.
“We were not a racing team any more since the beginning of January. I will be happy if we can get the whole group together and hopefully be happy and focused. I look to hopefully have a team that is more stable and can go to the next level and can be a racing team [again].”