Sergio Perez has admitted the possibility he could be paired with Fernando Alonso next year at Ferrari.
The famous Italian team has put Felipe Massa on notice, with Mexican Perez – currently driving for Ferrari-powered Sauber – at the head of Ferrari’s driver development programme. At the same time, however, Red Bull’s reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel regularly declares his desire to one day race a Ferrari.
“Ah, yes,” Perez told the Spanish sports daily Marca.
So who is the real front-runner for Massa’s seat?
“We will see,” he insisted, “as ultimately it depends on this year, which for me is very important.”
Perez, 22, admitted at least that he is a leading candidate.
“Yes, but this season is yet to even start and everything changes very fast in a year. There are many things that are yet to have been seen,” he said. “For me, Ferrari is the greatest team for which all the drivers dream of one day winning the championship but … let’s see. I would love to be there some day.”
Perez acknowledged that Spaniard Alonso, Ferrari’s much-loved number one, would be a difficult teammate.
“Very difficult, I would say Alonso is the most difficult on all of the grid to have as your teammate, I respect him a lot,” he insisted.
Reportedly on the cusp of a top seat, Perez is nonetheless still fending off suggestions he is a ‘pay driver’, due to his strong backing by the Mexican sponsor Telmex.
“In these days you do depend more on your support,” admitted Perez, “but I believe the talent remains the priority. Even with the drivers having support, I don’t think there are any bad drivers on the grid.
“I was criticised a lot for coming with the Telmex money, but if you look back, a driver who wins five races in GP2 and loses the title by 10 points will normally go in F1 the next year. It (Telmex) is an influence, but to say it’s why I’m here is not fair.”