BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Sergio Perez says he took action to put Force India into administration for the good of the team and is hopeful it will result in a brighter future for he Silverstone-based outfit.
Force India entered administration on Friday night after Perez brought legal action against the team with the support of engine supplier Mercedes and main sponsor BWT. The team will continue to race as usual at this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix as administrators work out the best outcome for its creditors long term.
Perez is owed over £3 million in unpaid salary, but insists the money was not the motivation behind the action.
"I ended up in a very difficult situation," he said. "The last month or so has been extremely tough for me, with the situation that our team was [in]. In the end, I ended up in the middle.
"We got to a point where action had to be taken, to protect the 400 people who 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, and I'm just here to drive. I tried to focus but then it got too much.
"I was asked by a couple of members of the team to go ahead and save the team and protect the 400 people who were working there. For me, it was hard because emotionally and mentally, it's really tough -- I haven't been able to focus on my driving, on being a racing driver.
"There were so many things out of that. But the picture is much bigger than it looks at the moment. We might go into a painful period but the outcome will be really good for all the team.
"I've seen some quotes in the media from you, saying I've done it for the sake of getting my money. That had nothing to do with it. It's mainly to protect the team, which is quite easy in the media, to create those stories.
"I have been put in this position. It's not something I'm enjoying and liking it but in the end, I have to make the decision to protect the 400 people who are working here."
Force India's administrators are now looking for buyers capable of servicing the team's debts and moving the business forward. Perez said it had been a difficult decision to take the action given his personal relationship with team boss Vijay Mallya, who is fighting an attempt by the Indian government to extradite him from Britain in order to face charges of fraud.
"Personally, I love Vijay," Perez added. "My heart is broken because I know this is not ideal in the short term for him. But the big picture is really different. I have gone through a very difficult moment emotionally more than mentally.
"For me, it's been hard the position I've been put in. So yeah, I have to say, I'm not going through a good time at the moment."
Mercedes was among the creditors that backed Perez's legal action, and its F1 boss Toto Wolff is confident there are potential buyers capable of giving the team a new lease of life.
"I think, first of all, credit must be given to Vijay for ten years or so of funding the team and having been not only a shareholder, the key shareholder of the team, but also having had the enthusiasm to support the team and fund it," Wolff said. "Obviously things have turned more difficult for him, and that has had an effect on the team Force India.
"Now that the process has been kicked off by an administrator, there is many potential buyers with a great interest, with deep pockets, with an understanding of what kind of spending levels are needed in order to perform in Formula One -- insofar it's something that is positive for the team, and for all its employees I would say. As much as we have to recognize Vijay's effort the last ten years into the team, we shouldn't forget that."