SINGAPORE (AFP) –
Highly rated Sauber driver Sergio Perez Thursday insisted he was ready for Formula One’s big time — but shot down speculation that top teams had approached him about a move.
The Mexican respectfully disagreed with Ferrari president Luca de Montezemolo, who said the 22-year-old did not have the experience to race for one of the major outfits, despite his two second-place finishes this season.
But Perez, who underlined his talent by progressing from 12th on the grid to finish runner-up to McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton two weeks ago in Italy, simply answered “no” when asked if he had had approaches from other teams.
Perez enters this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix ninth in the standings, after closing in the points six times this season including his podium spots in Malaysia and Italy.
“With respect to what Montezomolo said, with all his experience I fully respect his opinion,” the Mexican said in Singapore.
“I have to know my position… it’s only my second year in Formula One. (But) I feel ready to do a good job for a top team, to be able to fight for the title, so in that respect I feel ready.”
Perez dismissed rumours linking him to McLaren, insisting such talk always swirls after he puts in a good performance. After his second place in Malaysia early in the season, he was tipped for a move to Ferrari.
“There are so many rumours around. Before it was Ferrari and now it’s McLaren,” he said. “Whenever I have a good race, they put me with a different team.
“The most important thing is to keep doing a good job and try to maximise the car’s potential for the next races.”
If he were to move to the Ferrari team Perez would replace Felipe Massa. But Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who leads the drivers’ championship by 37 points with seven races to go, said any newcomer would have to be “better” than the Brazilian.
“If the team decides to change Felipe, whoever arrives has to be better than Felipe,” Alonso said.
“I know the names, I know what’s been written. I don’t know if it was written with the head or with the heart because the names that you hear, I don’t know if they compare with what Felipe did in Formula One.”
Formula One is currently beset with transfer speculation, with Hamilton said to be considering a move to Mercedes, and Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen named for a possible move to Ferrari.