Montezemolo: 2013 'too early' for Perez
As Ferrari President admits Vettel is the current driver he would most like to see at Ferrari in future
Last Updated: October 15, 2012 10:47am
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has told Sky Sports that next season is "too early" for rising Sauber star Sergio Perez to be handed a race seat at Ferrari.
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The 22-year-old Mexican has persistently been tipped as a strong candidate to replace Felipe Massa alongside Fernando Alonso at the Scuderia for 2013 should Ferrari decide to finally dispense with the Brazilian stalwart's services at the end of the season.
Perez appeared to further strengthen his case for any vacancy at Ferrari's home race at Monza last weekend with another storming race performance which saw him overtake both Massa and Alonso to finish a close second to Lewis Hamilton.
However, despite the result having renewed speculation that a move for the Mexican could be afoot, it appears not to have alterted di Montezemolo's view first expressed earlier in the season that, while improving all the time, with just two seasons in F1 under his belt Perez remains too inexperienced to race for the sport's most successful team.
"Next season is too early," he said in an interview with Sky Sports News' Rachel Brookes when asked about Perez.
"I'm very pleased for him because first of all it showed that our choice when we picked up him as a young driver was good. Then it is thanks to Sauber, thanks to the Ferrari Academy, he grow up.
"To put a young guy to Ferrari with the pressure of Ferrari, you need more experience."
Ferrari, who were known to talk to Mark Webber about joining them for 2013 prior to the Australian committing to Red Bull for a further season, potentially face a quandary over who to partner Alonso with next season given that, if reports from the Italian media are to be believed, reigning double World Champion is said to have signed some sort of pre-contract agreement to join the team from 2014.
Although all parties involved have played down that speculation since the initial reports broke several months ago, di Montezemolo is set to further fuel the conjecture having now revealed that Vettel is the driver on the grid he would most like to see at Ferrari in the future.
Drawing a comparison between Vettel at this stage of his career with the German's countryman and friend Michael Schumacher, who joined Ferrari as a two-time title winner aged 27 in 1996, Montezemolo told Rachel: "I think that Vettel is more or less in the condition like when Michael was in Benetton [in the mid-1990s].
"He's young, he's a very good driver and he's making a very good experience. So this could be, of course in the theory, but if you have to ask me the name I have to tell you this name."