Sergio Perez may have other things on his mind as he approaches this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, but remains insistent that there is nothing in rumours that he is poised to move to Ferrari.
The Mexican was being linked to Felipe Massa's seat at the Scuderia even before his stirring second place finish in Malaysia, and remains the favourite to replace the beleaguered Brazilian as Ferrari continues to demand more from its number two. However, despite speculation suggesting that Massa had until Monaco to prove his worth to Maranello, Perez insists that has not been asked to leave Sauber, nor would he do so right now.
“No, not at all – and, should that situation really come about, I would reject it as I would not want to make a switch in the middle of a season,” he told the official F1 website, “I think all this hype about a possible switch is massively blown up by the media.
“I believe that Felipe will bounce back and do a good job. He is a strong driver and he has a great team behind him. Once he's bounced back, all these stories will die at.”
While Perez's loyalty to the Swiss team is admirable – and not entirely surprising given Ferrari's poor form – the rumour mill has been fuelled by Sauber's close ties with the Scuderia, and the engine supply deal that led, mischievously, to suggestions that the Mexican had been told not to challenge Fernando Alonso too
closely at Sepang.
“I think that people should not mix up engines and drivers,” Perez claimed, “These sort of rumours have been around for quite a while and, of course, I have a connection to Ferrari, to their driver academy of Ferrari. But my position is clear: I am driving for Sauber and I will remain here, giving my 100 per cent to my team.”
Having attempted, again, to play down suggestions of his calling from the biggest team in the sport, Perez will turn his attention to conquering the biggest race on the schedule – one that bit him hard in his rookie season.
Having impressed by making it through to the third and final phase of qualifying, the Mexican's weekend was cut violently short by an accident exiting the famous tunnel. Hitting a bump in the road as he braked for the Nouvelle Chicane, his Sauber first his the barriers at the side of the road, then slammed into the end of the barriers separating the track from the run-off area as the road turned left into the chicane.
The sickening contact left Perez unconscious and on his way to hospital, where he remained for the rest of the weekend, and the after-effects of the accident ultimately ruled him out of the ensuing Canadian Grand Prix, despite an attempt to return to the cockpit.