Sergio Perez clarifies Force India team about his intentions
Mexican Formula One driver Sergio Perez said on Saturday he sent the Force India team he drives for into administration to save the jobs of 400 colleagues.
Perez said he was broken-hearted at having to make the claim for money owed, which put the British-based team in administration, but he insists it was not for personal gain.
Perez told reporters at the Hungarian Grand Prix that he had endured a month of emotional and mental hell and his racing had suffered because of the team's precarious financial situation.
"I love Vijay. My heart is really broken because I know this is not ideal in the short term for him, but the big picture is really different," said the Mexican.
"The bottom line of this is that we do this or the team would have gone bust. That’s what I get from the lawyers and members of the team."
Going into administration effectively removes the immediate threat of closure and also overcomes the obstacle of shareholder resistance to a sale.
Perez's claim for money owed -- some 4 million euros, mostly from last season -- was supported by engine provider Mercedes and team sponsor BWT which says it is also owed significant sums.
"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" said Perez.
"It has nothing to do with my outstanding amounts. The only reason I’ve done it is to save the team and for its better future" added the driver, who is now in his fifth season with Force India.
"I am sure everyone appreciates what I’ve done and if they don’t appreciate it right now, because a couple of members of the team don’t know the full picture, they will appreciate it in a week’s time or so."
TURMOIL BEHIND THE SCENES
Perez said he had struggled to keep his focus over the last month, even if the results had not betrayed the turmoil going on behind closed doors at a team that has struggled to pay its bills for some time.
"Emotionally and mentally it’s really tough. I haven’t been able to focus on my driving and being a racing driver," he declared.
"I’m not going through a good time at the moment."
Mallya, who has a 42.5 percent stake in the team, is fighting an attempt by India to extradite him from Britain to face charges of fraud, which he denies, with a group of Indian banks seeking to recover more than $1 billion of loans granted to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
He has decried a "political witch hunt" and has said he is seeking to sell assets worth about 139 billion rupees ($2.03 billion) to repay creditors.
"He’s going through a very difficult time, not just legally but also financially," said Perez.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)