Despite a poor run of form that has seen him fail to score since being confirmed as Jenson Button's new team-mate at McLaren
for 2013, Sergio Perez is optimistic enough to think that he can provide Sauber with a top ten send-off.
The Mexican is clinging to tenth place on the drivers' standings, having claimed three podium finishes for Sauber in 2012, but is determined to sign off on his two-year stint with the Swiss team by adding to its points tally and helping it to overthrow Mercedes in the constructors' race.
“The Brazilian Grand Prix
will be the last race of a very long season that has seen a lot of ups and downs, and it will be a very special event for me as it is the last race I will drive for Sauber before I leave,” Perez confirmed, “It is a great team and I want to thank everybody for everything they have done for me over the last two years.
“I am sure it will be very emotional for me at Interlagos, [but] the best way to say thank-you, of course, would be a great result and to beat the team in front of us. This is my target. I believe and I hope our car should be good enough there for a strong top ten position.”
Both Perez and current team-mate Kamui Kobayashi
– who should learn his F1 fate this weekend as Sauber prepares to announce its second driver for next season – profess to love the Interlagos layout, which the Japanese driver has good reason to remember.
“I like Brazil, I like the Brazilians and I like the Churrascarias,” Kobayashi enthused, “Interlagos is the place where I drove my first F1 race in 2009 and, last year, we were in a battle with Toro Rosso
for seventh place in the championship, which we were finally able to defend.
“I'm really looking forward to this grand prix. It's always special to race in front of the Brazilian fans because they are so enthusiastic about motorsport – and I have heard from many different people that I have a lot of fans in Brazil, which is a surprise to me, but a very nice one.”
Sauber has experienced both highs and lows in 2012, with four podiums but also empty-handed Sundays like last time out in Austin. However, the team has 124 points to its name approaching the finale where, last year, it only had 44 points at the end of the season. Back in 2011, that was enough to defend seventh place in the constructors' championship, but this weekend there are bigger fish to fry as Interlagos provides one last chance to try and close a twelve-point gap and seize fifth in the championship at the expense of the Mercedes works team, which also hasn't scored since Singapore.