Sauber rookie replacing Massa?

2012-03-22 14:19

SEPANG, Malaysia - Sauber driver Sergio Perez is setting aside speculation linking him with a move to Ferrari, saying he is focused on performing for his current Formula 1 team.

Perez is one of several drivers who have been tipped as a replacement for Felipe Massa, who is under growing pressure to justify his place at Ferrari after struggling during the 2012 season-opening Australian F1 GP.

Perez, part of Ferrari's Young Driver programme and who has tested for the team, was asked about speculation of a move to Ferrari.


Perez said: "They are only rumours. It's only the first race of the season so its very early to say this or speculate. I'm very focused with my team, with Sauber, and we have a great car."

Massa, who came within one turn of winning the Drivers' championship in 2008, missed much of 2009 after a freak accident and had been well off the pace in the two years since. His team mate Fernando Alonso finished fifth in Australian while Massa spent much of the race fighting off back-markers and retired after tangling with Williams' Bruno Senna.

Ferrari has shipped an entirely new chassis to Malaysia for Massa in the hope that his performance will improve.


Italian media has speculated that Massa will become the first Ferrari driver in 27 years to be cut during the season, with Perez heading a list of replacement candidates. Others reportedly in contention include Adrian Sutil, Jarno Trulli and former Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello.

However, Michael Schumacher, who was a former team mate of Massa's, urged Ferrari to exercise patience and not make judgements based just on the Melbourne performance.

Schumacher said: "If you look at all the winter testing, the two (Ferrari) drivers were very close. To see the big difference we saw in Melbourne, I can only assume there must have been something not right for him.

"I trust he will (improve) and the team will do the utmost to give him the support he needs," he said.