F1 driver-turned-commentator Marc Surer has suggested that Sauber might benefit from changing its driver line-up for 2013, and put forward a couple of candidates to replace either Sergio Perez or Kamui Kobayashi.
While Perez is unlikely to move on unless selected to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari - a switch that appears to be on hold while the Scuderia allows its protégé to gain more F1 experience at Hinwil - Kobayashi's results have led Surer to question his value to the Swiss squad. Although the Japanese driver only trails his Mexican team-mate by a place and 14 points, Perez has twice taken the C31 to two podium finishes and enjoys the benefit of being a part of Ferrari's development academy as he progresses through only his second season in the top flight.
"Perez can be excused because he is relatively new," Surer told Motorsport-Total.com
, "I like Kobayashi, but the man has too many variations. He is a great racer, but he has to bring great changes [to reflect] his experience."
Should Sauber decide to call time on its two-year relationship with Kobayashi, who it snapped up on the basis of a couple of stellar outings as substitute for the injured Timo Glock at Toyota in 2009, Surer has a couple of names in mind as potential replacements.
"[Heikki] Kovalainen has recognised that [this is] his last chance," he noted, "[He] is in an intermediate team to start over, and is currently producing a season that is sensational, as his team-mate is far away from him. Now he needs to be in a top team - he has rebooted and is now ripe for a major role.
"And we must not forget Adrian Sutil. Adrian is a safe bet, as he has proved in recent years and over again. Compared to others who have come back [from time away], he is still hot, and that is very important."
The article also puts forward Bruno Senna as a potential candidate who could bring backing to the team - an area in which he would have an advantage over both Kobayashi and Kovalainen - as well as Perez' fellow Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, the current Sauber reserve who could help attract greater support from telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim.