Sergio Perez insists he is fully focused on his role with Sauber and has played down talk that he could be lined up a replacement for Felipe Massa
The Mexican is part of the Ferrari
Young Driver Programme, which means he has already tested a Ferrari
F1 car, and has been mentioned as one option for the team if it elected to drop Massa at the end of the season.
Massa's future has been called into question even more after a disappointing performance in the season opener in Australia, where he failed to make it past Q2 and then retired after a clash with Bruno Senna while running outside the points.
However, Perez said he wasn't paying any attention to the speculation and was fully focused on trying to follow up his points finish at Albert Park
with another score this weekend in Malaysia
“It's very early to speculate,” he said. “I'm really focused with my team, with Sauber. I think we have a great car and there's nothing more that I can say. I'm just focused on my team, to try to make as many points as possible because we have a very competitive car and I was to trying to make the most out of the car we have. Melbourne was a difficult weekend for me because I had the gearbox issue so I couldn't do a lap in qualifying so I qualified last and finished eighth. So it was a good race, and hopefully this weekend we can manage a good weekend. As for the rumours… they are only rumours.”
Massa himself has also played down the speculation in the Italian press in recent days, which has seen a number of reports talking about who could be his replacement at the end of the year.
However, the Brazikian said he was ignoring the reports and simply focussing on bouncing back to form after his tough outing last weekend.
"To be honest, I really don't care," he was quoted by ESPNF1
. "I never drove depending on what others think or say about me. I just do my job thinking about trying to do the best I can in the car. When I arrived here in 2008, people were saying I was out of Ferrari, because I did not finish in Australia and then I did not finish here and it went on to become my best season. Things can change very quickly from one day to the next. The only thing I care about is to have the car I know from winter testing.
"We need to turn the page after Australia and start again from zero and that is what we are planning for this race, which I hope will get off to a good start. This is not the first time that I have had a difficult race, there have been many. But one always has to look to the next one and this weekend will be only the second of the championship, so there is still time.”
Ferrari has already confirmed that Massa will have a new chassis for the second race of the season.