As F1 emerges from its August slumber at Spa-Francorchamps, the chances Sergio Perez will be staying at Sauber in 2013 seem to have increased dramatically.
The cream of Ferrari’s driver development programme, Mexican Perez has been tipped all season long as a likely successor for the struggling Felipe Massa. But the 22-year-old said on Thursday: "Sauber is a great team doing a fantastic job. "When I go to the factory and I see the people so motivated every day, I don’t see any reason why I want to leave," he is quoted by The National newspaper. "I’m happy here, and every day I’m more comfortable. I think the team can build a good car for next year, so I don’t see any reason to step away from it."
Switzerland’s Blick newspaper reports that, earlier this year, Perez and Sauber’s backer Carlos Slim approached Ferrari, asking that the Italian team decide by August whether it wants to sign Guadalajara-born Perez for 2013. Slim Domit is quoted by the French-language website f1i.com: "If I cannot continue to wait, it is simple. "I will call Monisha Kaltenborn, buy the whole team and start a Scuderia Mexico."
Sauber’s chief executive and shareholder Kaltenborn told Blick: "So far I haven’t got the call! "We are going on our way, with our goals and with the responsibility of our more than 300 employees." Team boss Peter Sauber added: "I can hardly believe that Slim said that. But I suppose in this world full of rumours, everything is possible." Kaltenborn said Hinwil based Sauber is in no rush to decide its 2013 driver lineup. "We are not busying ourselves too much over the driver question," she insisted.
One rumour is that Sauber is shopping around, because the Mexican tie-up with Perez, Slim and reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez was not as lucrative as first thought. On that suggestions, Peter Sauber replied: "No comment."
Image: Sauber Motorsport AG