READY FOR THE BIG TIME: Sergio Perez is continuing to make an impact on the bigger teams in F1. Image: AP / Ivan Sekretarev
Baku, Azerbaijan - Sergio Perez is not dismissing speculation he is in the running to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari for 2017.
The Mexican has been showing the way to 2015 Le Mans winner and Force India team mate Nico Hulkenberg this year, and scored two podium finishes in the past three races.
Perez showing his worth
Force India deputy principle Bob Fernley said after Perez's first podium of 2016 in Monaco in May: "No, I think we'll be all right."
Fernley was referring to early speculation that Perez, also sponsored by common Ferrari backer Carlos Slim, might get some offers to leave Force India by the end of the year.
"I think Sergio's happy where he is," Fernley added.
READ: Sergio Perez to replace Raikkonen at Ferrari?
But that was before Azerbaijan, and Perez's second podium this year that has given new life to the Ferrari rumours.
The 26-year-old knows Ferrari well, having been a development driver at Maranello and a race driver at Ferrari-powered Sauber before getting the call up by McLaren in 2013.
Perez said in Baku: "To be honest I'm not really into these rumours.
"I have said it before that I am happy at Force India, but for the future who knows what will happen. We are still in the early part of the year to make any decisions for later in the year."
Button to Willams
Another silly-season rumour is that, if McLaren-Honda does not retain him for 2017, Jenson Button's first team in F1, Williams, is interested in snapping up the now 36-year-old.
Williams' deputy boss Claire Williams told Britain's Sky: "Button back at Williams is a great headline.
"Of course he is going to be an attractive proposition if he is available."