September 20, 2012 / 1:25 PM / 5 years ago

Perez plays down talk of switch to bigger team

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Sauber’s Sergio Perez is playing his cards close to his chest regarding his Formula One future after arriving in Singapore for Sunday’s grand prix fresh from a third podium of the season in Monza two weeks ago.

The 22-year-old Mexican has shown plenty of promise in his second season at the elite level with his second-place finish in Italy fuelling speculation that a move to a bigger team was imminent.

As Ferrari mull over Felipe Massa’s future, many believe Perez is in prime position to join championship leader Fernando Alonso at the Italian outfit for the start of the 2013 campaign.

Paddock rumors linking Lewis Hamilton with a switch from McLaren to Mercedes have also opened the possibility of a spare seat at the British team but Perez was toeing the party line on Thursday and played down talk about his future.

“In my position, when I score good points the rumors start but if I have a bad race, the rumors go away and they (the media) chase another driver who has a good result,” Perez told reporters.

“In that respect, I am not worried. I know I have a very strong car for the next seven races so I just hope to deliverer a strong performance.”

Perez’s performances have lifted him to ninth in the standings on 65 points, ahead of both Massa and seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher, but, when pressed about whether he had been contacted over a possible move, his response was short and to the point.

“There have been no approaches from any teams,” he said.

The Ferrari Driving Academy member’s hopes of an early step up to the prestigious Italian outfit were recently dealt a blow when the team’s chairman Luca di Montezemolo said Perez lacked the necessary experience to join forces with Alonso.

“I fully respect his opinion. I have to know my position; probably, he means to become a Ferrari driver you need more... I don’t know because it’s only my second year in Formula One,” Perez said.

”I feel ready to do a good job, to be in a top team, to be able to fight for the title, for the championship, so in that respect I feel ready...but I fully respect his opinion.

“Regarding McLaren, there have been many rumours around. Before it was Ferrari and now it is McLaren. My most important thing is to keep doing a good job and try to maximize this car’s potential for the next seven races.”

Editing by Clare Fallon

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