F1 World Champion 2014
Lewis Hamilton
Perez says he’s ready for a top team, but denies any approach from McLaren
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Sep 2012   |  2:10 pm GMT  |  40 comments

Sauber’s Sergio Perez spoke this evening about his desire to get into a top team, claiming that he is “ready” to fight for wins and championships. At the same time he said that he had not had any approaches from top teams, despite speculation that McLaren is interested in him, as a possible partner for Jenson Button.

“It’s only my second year in Formula One but I feel ready to do a good job with a top team, to fight for the championship. In that respect I feel ready,” said the 22 year old Mexican, who is the third youngest driver in F1 after Jean Eric Vergne and Charles Pic.

Perez has scored three podiums this season and all have attracted praise from engineers of rival teams, particularly the performance in Monza two weeks ago, where he finished second on a reverse strategy compared to his rivals.

“In the position that I’m in when I have a good result – because I’m fighting for the points and sometimes I can get some good podiums – it’s always the time when the rumours start,” Perez added.

“But then you have a bad race and then there are no more rumours and they are changing to the driver who had a good race. So in that respect I’m not really worried; I know that I have a very strong car for the next seven races so I hope I can deliver very strong performances.”

When asked directly “Have any approaches had been made (from major teams)?” Perez said, “No.”

Whilst not for a moment suggesting that this is not the case, Perez’ contract might not be quite as straight-forward as other drivers’ as he is believed to be contracted with the team through one of the sponsors, rather than directly driver to team.

His role as a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy has also invited questions as to how he could move to another top team apart from the Scuderia, whose president Luca di Montezemolo has made it clear that that the Mexican is not experienced enough to take a seat there in 2013.

However Perez was clear that this would not be any impediment to a move to another team,

“No, I have a nice connection to Ferrari through the Ferrari Academy but I’m just part of the Ferrari Academy, I’m not part of the Ferrari team. So it doesn’t affect it,” he said.

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40 Comments
  1. Matt W says:

    I find it incredible how Perez is not experienced enough for Ferrari. Imagine how stupid Mclaren would have looked if they let Hamilton slip through their fingers because he wasn’t experienced enough for 2007. Perez already has a year under his belt.

    1. ronmon says:

      That’s pretty much how I see it. Ferrari is going to wait so long that they end up losing him to another team.

    2. Jack says:

      Agree. I can’t see any reason why Massa out and Perez in shouldn’t be a positive. Only thought is perhaps Alonso is vetoeing so as not to have a challenge within the team – but seems doubtful.

      It would be a shame for both Ferrari and Massa if he is retained next season. The team need more points and he needs to get away from Fernando being faster than him. I reckon Felipe of 2007 would give Perez a run for his money – has to leave (to sauber?) and rebuild career.

    3. Lee says:

      That’s another agree from me. My perception of him is that he’s either completely off my radar when the car’s not good or firmly on the radar with a hard charging drive. That’s a good thing because if you’re not hearing about his race he’s having a tidy incident free midfield drive. No desperate mistakes even when the car isn’t good just a good professional drive. When he has the car it’s clear he has the talent.

    4. F458 says:

      Maybe Ferrari are waiting for Vettel to arrive in 2014? In this respect it is much easier to keep Massa on for another year rather than take Perez.

    5. Elie says:

      And thats definitely another agree from me. That Luca di Montezemolo should disappear to politics where he belongs I don’t believe a word that clown says anyway.. Anyone who doesn’t think Sergio is not ready for a seat in a top team needs their head read. He’s already had more than a full season in a f1 and has punched above his weight consistently- but even the way carries himself out of the car is more like a seasoned driver. Maybe no one has spoken to him directly yet but that’s probably because they are dealing with his management and sponsors and it’s only a matter of time before they work out the right way forward given his sponsor agreements and probably the outcome of his results at season end.

  2. Lisa Thomas says:

    James I watched the drivers news conference today, it was you asking the questions? sounded like you but I wasn’t sure.
    I was struck by how witty and intelligent Vettel is in what is a foreign language to him. Someone asked him if it’s possible to win the title without winning a single race, which Kimi found quite amusing.

    Perez was emphatic that he’d had no approaches. After all the excitement of the last few weeks, do you think it’s now likely there will be no driver changes for 2013?
    Is Bruno S now replacing Massa at the top of the list of expendables?

    1. James Allen says:

      No it was Bob Constanduros

      1. Steven Pritchard says:

        Avast! There are three clones in total! :)

  3. gudien says:

    How much of Perez’ success is down to running a different tire strategy than others? I don’t see Sergio outqualifying his teammate.

    Why would McLaren replace Hamilton with a slow qualifier when they already have Jenson Button on hand to qualify slowly?

    1. Daniel MA says:

      Well it also takes a lot of skill to make a different strategy work otherwise everyone would be doing the same right? Anyway, if what James says Its true, that he has a contract through Telmex, then it would make things very difficult if he went to McLaren remember that’s the team that doesn’t want any personal sponsorships etc the very reason why Lewis might leave.

      1. James Allen says:

        No, I think that they would be a team sponsor. That’s no block.

        Business wise it makes quite a bit of sense. Depends a bit on whether Vodafone will continue with the team and with F1

      2. Simple says:

        I heard a rumor that vodaphone were intending to pull all Motorsport sponsorship from next year, with the only exception being NASCAR. Any thruth in that James?

      3. David Smith says:

        Are Vodafone making noises about pulling out of F1?

      4. James Allen says:

        They have been pulling out of sports sponsorships – cricket and V8 Supercars and there has been some speculation about F1.

        It’s been hugely successful for them and they’ve been in for a while – Ferrari in Schumacher era and of course the recent McLaren years

      5. Folkdisco says:

        It would certainly be strange to see 2 different mobile company stickers on one car. Vodafone do get quite a lot out of F1, but I suspect not as much as Santander get out of FA. SP’s sugar daddy Carlos Slim is the richest human on the planet, so cash isn’t the issue.
        Ferrari seem happy to sit back and let Perez develop at Sauber. With Ferrari pondering, it would do Sergio no harm to have paddock mutterings about a move to the old enemy.
        Whether Perez-McLaren has any basis in fact, or is just agent gossip to push Maranello along and raise the asking price, is the real question.

    2. Frankie says:

      I’d say that the only reason Perez can do the different strategies is through amazing driving: fast enough but not too hard on the tyres.
      There are no points for qualifying! (But of course, I’m not so dim to neglect the fact that a good grid slot helps you in the race).

    3. I agree, clearly the hard-soft strategy was the fastest in the race at Monza. Every driver who ran that strategy finished higher than they would have running soft-hard. The tire restrictions from Q3 are antiquated and I hope they are removed next year. We need one extra set of tires for Q3 that cannot be used in the race. I want to see the 10 fastest drivers going all out in Q3. I do not want to see a P12 qualifier get to 2nd because P3-P10 were hamstrung by their tire choice in qualifying.

      Also, I think it was a shame to see Kobayashi, who has out-qualified his more highly lauded teammate this season, struggle to make an inferior strategy work in his race.

      Please don’t get me wrong, Perez drove a fantastic race (as did di Resta). I don’t want to take anything away from their performances, but I would like to have every driver provided the same resources for their races (including tire strategies).

      1. Jim Dee says:

        Yeah, bonus tyres for passing a qualifying stage. Also start the race on whatever set you like.

      2. JK says:

        So true….
        I couldn’t have put it better.

    4. Elie says:

      Gudien, you still have to make a strategy work regardless and we’ve seen many more experienced drIvers fail at this this year.

      Also other people keep “bangin on” about him not qualifying well( same as Raikkonen). For crying out loud understand that the Sauber C31 does not heat up its tyres well and operates better during a race – its a very difficult balance to sort out this year as we’ve seen this year with many top teams. Lotus have exactly the same issue and only last few races have both these teams made in-roads into Quali set up. They are still no Mclaren or Ferrari.

  4. Kay says:

    I’m not sure how much truth is in this, but I read somewhere previously that before Kimi was snapped up by McLaren, Ferrari had an interest in him and could veto any contracts due to Ferrari’s connection to Sauber.

    First year don’t mean no success, Sergio. You’ve shown you’re good enough to be in any top team =) Best of luck!!!!!

    1. Elie says:

      With hindsight could you imagine if Kimi was at Ferrari from 2002- Schumacher would have only half his titles !

  5. hero_was_senna says:

    Ferrari have the luxury of having Alonso in the car. They don’t need Perez.

    Mclaren faced a similar situation in 1990-1993.
    They had Senna in the team, and whether Berger, Andretti or Hakkinen, no-one was going to beat him over a season.
    Ron Dennis, in an interview said, Mclaren after Senna would never be a 1 driver team. They designed and built a car around Senna’s brilliance, yet when he left it took 4 seasons to get back to that level because no-one could drive at his level.

    In a way, despite his contract giving him number 1 status, Schumacher in his time at Ferrari was also the best in F1. He just chose to have subserviant team-mates.

    People talk of Ferrari being a one horse team, yet prior to Schumacher and Todt, they let their drivers race. It is in the genetic make up.
    LDM made use of the Brawn/ Todt/ Schumacher axis to bring unprecedented success to Ferrari, but he was the one who made the decision to sign Kimi. He welcomed competition.
    (Before anyone feels sorry for the men being used, they were exceptionally well paid!)

    Todt left within 12 months and Brawn took a sabbatical, yet Schumacher worked with Ferrari for a further 3 seasons. To this day, Byrne still works in collaboration with the team at times.

    Post Schumacher, you had Massa and Raikkonen, yet they raced until bad luck made it obvious which one to back.
    KR in 2007 and Massa in 2008.

    All that Alonso has done since 2010 is prove he’s the team leader, by personality and by driving brilliance.
    Unfortunately, no matter how good Massa was/ is, he is not on Alonso’s level.

    1. Elie says:

      “They don’t need Perez” and where are Ferrari in the Constructors Championship despite Fernando great driving.

      I will laugh my head off also if Hamilton or anyone else for that matter wins drivers championship too and Ferrari end up with Nothing !- ( precisely what they deserve)

      1. Rach says:

        Sorry but I don’t agree. The Ferrari was a dog at the start of the season and has single handedly been dragged to the top of the standings by an incredible alonso.

        If Ferrari adopted a less favourable driver policy they would be nowhere in both driver and constructor championships.

        Mclaren are the classic contrast of a team that has wasted it’s resources by backing 2 horses.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Your words speak volumes…

        Regarding Ferrari and championship, they are leading because of the brilliance of Alonso. It’s easy now to forget, that Ferrari were 1.5s off the pace and still aren’t the fastest car out there.

        But that doesn’t suit certain people’s agendas.

      3. Elie says:

        Rach you don’t need to be sorry because you didn’t read my message properly or just don’t understand it. Who is doubting Fernando’s great driving- read it again??

        My point is how can anyone doubt that it’s better to have two drivers challenging for the podium rather than just one?? I just keep hearing this garbage and yet I see Red Bull who haven’t won as many races as Fernando are leading the constructors. We saw Lotus in 3rd till recently.
        Okay Ferrari don’t place as much emphasis as other teams on Constructors- but that is exactly where they are judged and that is where they earn the prize money on.

        Repeat for the umpteenth time I have no beef with Fernando its the Ferrari team -I dont like their philosophy. That is why I want them to get beaten.

      4. Rach says:

        Sorry elie I did understand your point. I know you were not doubting alonso.

        My point is that without the clear backing from the team alonso would not be the same driver. My view is the only way a team can have 2 drivers and win things is if you build the fastest car. Red bull were able to do this in ’10 and ’11 although does anyone really believe that webber has a complete equal chance?The problem comes when you don’t build the fastest car and you therefore don’t maximise your potential as your drivers take points off each other.

  6. Matt H says:

    It’s intriguing how this will pan out. On Perez while undoubtably he has bags of potential I feel another season could see him gain even more experience and strength and would be dissappointed to see him hinder his potential to develop. I’m not stating this would definately happen on ferraris part but going toe to toe with a strong character like alonso could see criticism mount quickly if he doesn’t start on fire. I feel massa has had his time with a team of ferraris calibre however I do feel he could benefit massively back to a sauber esq team and offer a lot to f1 but maybe 1 more year grace with the prancing horse and lets see how he takes to knowing he must perform every race. Ultimately I feel Perez may stay as will massa and the change will likely be 2014

  7. Erik says:

    If McLaren gave a petulant Hamilton a shot in 2007 against the best driver in the world at the time, there is no way they’ll think twice about putting a clearly level headed Perez into a seat. Whether he’s actually on McLaren’s radar is another matter.

  8. Rach says:

    Perez definitely deserves a shot at a top team. He for me is the next star driver.

  9. tom in adelaide says:

    James, can you spill the beans on Jaime’s pending announcement?

    Is he going to Williams?

    1. James Allen says:

      You cannot violate confidences like that and stay in F1 for long….

      TBC

      1. Irish con says:

        I see him at sauber next year.

      2. Elie says:

        Wow that would be good news for him Williams or Sauber. I always thought he deserved a good drive!

  10. Rudy says:

    The worst mistake on signing contracts this year, in my opinion, was Mark Webber’s to stay for one more season at RBR. We know now there is a “de facto” #1 dirver there, Seb Vettel. They don’t get along well. So, rejecting a contract with Ferrari to do basically the same but better paid, along with his friend Fernando and with higher media coverage, one have to wonder the man knows something we don’t. And that’s Vettel moving to ferrari in 2014 or elsewhere. So maybe the old fox Mark is waiting in the shadow for Seb to leave and be the #1 at RBR.
    As for Perez one must have in mind the global telecom business of the Slim family. Telmex is the leading telephone and internet provider in Mexico. It’s almost monopolic. The parent company, Telcel, is the leading mobile communications service provider. Through America Movil, a sister company of Telmex International they have been making strategic alliances in South America, hence the brand Claro. It is not clear what they intend to do for the european market. Language wise the logical platform would be Spain but due to the economical issues there it seems a no by the time being. Italy or the UK seem a good entry point. If Ferrari say no to Perez and backers Telmex, it is Ferari’s loss. McLaren or Lotus could be good business alternatives. Remember Perez will go where Telmex/Telcel interests land.

  11. DanWilliams from Aust says:

    If PER went to Ferrari in 2013 and he was allowed to race as hard as he can with exactly the same machinery as ALO, I think we’d see Alonso have a sad like he did in 2007 with HAM.

    In the frist year, I believe PER would be able to give ALO a very hard time. Then in the second and beyond years I beleive PER would be able to match ALO.

    I like ALO, one of my fav driver’s currently, but he definatley fits the mould of Ferrari and wants a wingman, which Ferrari are willing to provide. However most driver’s in F1 currently are lead driver’s, not willing to play a no.2 role to ALO. MAS is prob the only driver willing to do that.

    Makes you wonder what is the point of Ferrari’s driver academy if the diver’s are always going to be too young and inexperiencced until another team snaps them up.? Or that their driver’s may only grow up to be a no.2 to a more experienced driver with a full trophy cabinet in the lead seat…?

  12. Haydn Lowe says:

    And yet some of us recognise the benefits of the ‘wingman’ concept in F1 TEAMS. Alonso leads the championship on skill, guille and experience (and yes, a smidge of good luck…) in an inferior car, but where would the benefit be for Ferrari in having a fiery team-mate taking points off him and risking everything just to entertain F1 fans who don’t even like Ferrari, as they seem to be the most vocal in denigrating their policies!
    No, in contemporary F1, with safer more reliable cars, a truly great Number 1 and a skilled but amenable Number 2 (who recognises how privileged he is to be one of only 2 Ferrari drivers in the world…) is the best formula for success. Yes, Massa has looked fragile since his accident but he knows exactly what his role is within the team. Replace him with Perez and they risk upsetting a very finely balanced dynamic which, IMHO is the only way to guarantee championships. Irvine, Barrichello and Massa have been excellent Number 2′s and have seen Ferrari through it’s most successful era. Why change things now? In 6 years Alonso will have retired and Perez might be in a position to take the number 1 role himself. I’m sure that’s got to be worth waiting for…

  13. nusratholla says:

    I’m gonna’ be brave here and say… The only person who deserves to replace Massa in the Ferrari is Maldonado… He is a brilliant proven Winner and a Wild Man… very reminiscent of the late great Giles Villeneuve.
    And Ferrari needs a touch of Wild Appeal to its F1 brand image… for since the Schumacher days it has become a boring image with its last Wild Strak to its brand was brought by Jean Alesi.

    So bring Maldonado to Ferrari I say :)

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