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Perez will remain at Sauber 'for whole season'

Malaysian GP runner-up Sergio Perez says he expects to remain at Sauber for the entire 2012 F1 season, despite being linked to Ferrari.
Sergio Perez has said that he is fully committed to giving his all for Sauber, despite his second place in the Malaysian Grand Prix heightening speculation that he could replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari before too long.

Even before the Mexican's stunning pursuit of Fernando Alonso at Sepang caught the imagination of television viewers and soggy spectators alike, he was being tipped as a potential stand-in for the struggling Massa, who hasn't recorded a podium finish in more than a year. While the likes of out-of-work Jarno Trulli and Adrian Sutil were also put forward as credible replacements, Perez's current form and membership of the Ferrari Young Driver Academy put him at the top of the pile.

He cemented that position by making full use of an early switch to full wet tyres to vault up the order in Sunday's race, and then provide the only opposition to Alonso, once the Spaniard had taken the lead. The Sauber driver led briefly during the various rounds of pit-stops, but closed inexorably on his rival not once but twice after a clutch-induced slow stop cost him several valuable seconds. Only a late slip, prompted many believe by an ill-timed call from the team to make sure he didn't throw away second place, denied him a legitimate shot at passing Alonso - and even then Perez had closed back to within a couple of seconds at the flag.

"It was very difficult obviously to get Fernando, but I think the win was possible," the Mexican reflected, "I have to say the team has done an incredible job. They called me always on the right time, especially the first pit-stop we did, it was really at the right moment. Unfortunately, Fernando pitted one lap earlier than us, towards the end of the race when the track was already dry and he opened some gap there, and even then we managed to get him. The pace was fantastic, I was really quick.

"I was catching Fernando toward the end of the race, and I knew I had to get him soon because, in all the sectors with the high speed, I was losing already my front tyres with a lot of degradation, so it wasn't easy. Then I ran wide in the quick corner, I touched a kerb and I went to the dirty side. It was completely wet and I was lucky not to go off, but that was the end of the win.

"In the end, though, second is a great result for the team. It's many points and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. It's only the second race of the season and, hopefully, we can keep improving our car to fight the big guys."

The question remains, however, whether Perez will be one of the 'big guys' before too long, with Massa yet to score after two more scrappy races in 2012. The Italian media is already calling for the Brazilian - a title contender as recently as 2008 - to be dropped before the end of his contract, and the paddock grapevine suggests he has until Monaco to raise his game, but Perez refuses to be drawn into talk of a rapid promotion to become Alonso's team-mate, despite being spotted in conversation with Stefano Domenicali on the podium.

"I only congratulated him," the Mexican insisted, "As a team, they did a great job. For me, my full commitment is with my team, with Sauber F1. It's only the second race of the season and there's still a long way to go, so we have to keep improving, especially because we are a small team. For us, it's about getting closer to development, the others can improve more so it's important we remain focused. Obviously it's only rumours but no, I will stay with Sauber for the whole season."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
25.03.2012- Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Scuderia Ferrari F2012 and Paul di Resta (GBR) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM05
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber F1 Team
25.03.2012- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012 race winner and Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber F1 Team C31 2nd position
25.03.2012- Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber F1 Team C31 2nd position
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
27.11.2016 - Race,Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H  leads Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12

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Lamarck - Unregistered

March 26, 2012 10:56 AM

I am certain that Domenicali was discussing a potential mid-season switch to Ferrari with Perez on the podium. I expect that this discussion not only involved if Perez was willing but also payment terms, driver status with Alonso, duration of contract, and what size overalls he wears. Because the podium is exactly the right place for this. The podium is the place where all driver negotiations take part. It's the obvious best place for this to happen.



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