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Perez 95 percent confident of staying in F1

Sauber Formula One driver Sergio Perez of Mexico drives behind Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain during the Malaysian F1 G
Sauber Formula One driver Sergio Perez of Mexico drives behind Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain during the Malaysian F1 G

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Mexican Sergio Perez believes he now has a 95 percent chance of staying in Formula One next season after being dropped by McLaren.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos circuit on Thursday, Perez said his prospects of finding another drive for 2014 had improved in the last few days.

"It's 95 (percent) that I will be here. The other five, everything can change in Formula One but I am feeling confident I will be here next year," said the 23-year-old, who moved to McLaren from Sauber at the end of 2012.

"All I can say is that my future is looking in a better position than it was looking a couple of days ago."

McLaren told Perez shortly before last weekend's U.S. Grand Prix in Austin that he was being replaced next season by 21-year-old Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen.

The decision took the Mexican by surprise and he had said in Texas that the timing, so late in the year, had left him in a difficult position.

However McLaren principal Martin Whitmarsh told reporters in Austin that he had recommended the driver, who has backing from Mexican phone company Telmex, to both the Force India and Lotus teams.

"I am trying to help him get a drive. He deserves to be in Formula One," Whitmarsh had said. "He is an exciting driver but we saw such great potential in Kevin that we decided to sign him."

A return to Sauber is a possibility for the Mexican, with that team already having Mexican sponsors and compatriot Esteban Gutierrez racing for them this season.

Sauber, Force India and Lotus have all yet to confirm their lineups, as have lowly Caterham and Marussia.

"Nothing is signed yet but we are much more advanced, we have better options than we had at Austin," said Perez. "I have to sit down with my management, my people, Telmex, to decide which one is the best option for us.

"Everything happens for a reason and I'm very confident that in one year's time I will be here telling you that it was the best thing that happened to me to leave McLaren. I hope I can tell you this."

(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Alison Wildey)

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