Perez: No approach from McLaren
But youngster confirms that Ferrari association wouldn't prevent him partnering Jenson Button in 2013 if Lewis Hamilton departs
Last Updated: 20/09/12 1:28pm
Sergio Perez: Says he hasn't been approached by a top team for 2013
Sergio Perez has denied reports that he has received an approach from McLaren regarding a drive with the team next year - but confirmed that his association with Ferrari would not prevent him replacing Lewis Hamilton at McLaren for the 2013 season.
Perez's stock has soared this season after registering three podium finishes and newspaper reports last week claimed that McLaren had made contact with the Sauber driver as the Woking team braced themselves against the possible departure of Hamilton to Mercedes.
However, speaking in the Drivers' Press Conference at Singapore, Perez assured reporters that he hadn't been approached by the Woking outfit - yet.
"Regarding the McLaren rumour, there are so many rumours around. Before it was Ferrari and now it's with McLaren. Always when I have a good race they [the media] put me in a different team. The most important thing is to keep doing a good job and to maximise the car's potential we have for the next races."
Then asked directly whether McLaren had made contact, Perez clarified: "No, no."
Nonetheless, were Hamilton to depart for Mercedes, the hugely-talented Perez is bound to figure near the top of McLaren's list of alternatives. It's a prospect given extra resonance by the Mexican's long-term association with Ferrari as a graduate of their Young Driver Programme. But would that association bar him from joining McLaren given their status as one of Ferrari's closest rivals? Not according to Perez.
"I have a nice connection to Ferrari through the Ferrari Academy, but I'm just part of the Ferrari Academy - not part of the Ferrari team. So it doesn't affect [decisions on his future]."
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All the while, the youngster continues to impress both and off the track. In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News that followed the youngster's second place at Monza last week, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo announced that Perez lacked sufficient experience to be considered ready to replace the struggling Felipe Massa. The irony, then, is that Di Montezemolo's remarks drew an impressively mature response from the 22-year-old when he faced the media on Thursday.
"I fully respect his opinion," Perez told reporters. "Probably he means to become a Ferrari driver you need probably more [experience].
"I don't know, it's only my second year in Formula 1. I feel ready to do a good job to [be at] a top team to be able to fight for the title. So in that respect I feel ready, but I fully respect his opinion."