Perez: Ferrari was “never an option”

2012 Japanese Grand Prix

Sergio Perez, Sauber, 2012Sergio Perez said joining Ferrari was never an option for him despite having been a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy.

Speaking at the press conference ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix Perez, who will drive for McLaren next year, said: “Yes we were talking to them but there was never an option.

“I have been talking to them because I was part of the Academy. I have a good contact with them, good communication.

“But the place I go is the best place where I can be and I’m so happy and thankful also for them because they helped me a lot to come into Formula One and now I’m moving forward.

“And I want to thank McLaren too for taking me on board and to trust on me.”

Perez added: “It was never clear with them if they wanted me or not. It was never clear, basically.

“I mean, it was difficult for them probably to make a decision. I think they are happy with Felipe [Massa], he is a very good driver. A proven driver as well.

“I am not a proven driver. I am not a guarantee as Felipe is so probably that’s why I was never an option for them and the opportunity never came so I never see them as an option for me.”

“Maybe I am too young for Ferrari”

Perez reiterated he respected Luca di Montezemolo’s view that he is not experienced enough to drive for Ferrari but said he feels ready for the opportunity he has been given: “Of course I respect, he’s a person that I respect a lot.

“Maybe to drive for Ferrari you need more experience. I think he has these arguments, it’s better that you ask him what he meant with that.

“Maybe I am too young to join for a team like Ferrari, I don’t know. I feel ready to join a top team and to fight for the championship.”

Perez explained he had been involved in discussions with McLaren earlier but had not disclosed them to avoid speculation about his future: “There has been some talks before but I didn’t want to give too many information about my opportunities, my options, so the question doesn’t come that often.

“Because if I say at that time ‘yes’ I would be full of questions. I wanted to keep it low profile, focusing always in my team, giving my 100% to my team. I’m very thankful they gave me this opportunity and we have six races with a strong car to go and I want to leave in a very high, this team.”

“With McLaren you have to win”

He added he was looking forward to working with Jenson Button next year: “Of course it will be great to have a very, very good champion. He is a world champion.

“It will be a pleasure to work with him together, to reach the same target for the team which is winning and make the best car possible. So I’m looking forward to working well with him, with the whole team.

“I’m so motivated and enthusiastic to start working with my new team. But first as I say I want to finish in a very high the next six races for my team and give everything I can for my team that gave me the opportunity to be a Formula One driver.”

Perez praised Lewis Hamilton, who he will replace at McLaren, as “one of the fastest drivers in the grid”.

“It will be not easy at all,” he added. “I know I have very big shoes to fit. It will be difficult but I will give everything I can. I will work as hard as possible to give the best results and win the championships with this great team.”

Perez said he expects to be able to compete for race wins next year: “With McLaren there is no other option. You have to win. Every race you have a car that you can win every race, it’s a guarantee. McLaren is always a guarantee. So I have to work very hard, to give everything to my team, and I’m ready to do it, once I finish this season.”

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43 comments on Perez: Ferrari was “never an option”

  1. BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th October 2012, 8:12

    I really am starting to like this guy Checo. Fast, and he seems very level headed. Lets see how that works out over the next few years.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th October 2012, 8:25

      Most drivers who come out of Sauber are. They don’t get carried away with egoes, they learn to exist within a team and value the input of all the engineers, and as a reward, they come out smarter, sharper and highly-rated in the paddock. Sauber instills in them a mental discipline – the kind if discipline both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton lacked early in their careers. Sauber drivers don’t get caught by the local police doing burn-outs when they leave the circuit (as Hamilton did), and they don’t get distracted by a carousel if beautiful women (I’m looking at you, Jenson Button). Sauber drivers put their heads down and let their driving do the talking – and almost every driver who started his career with the team has achieved great things.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th October 2012, 9:51

        On that note, here is something interesting – Will Buxton has just Tweeted the following:

        Well that was interesting. Pastor Maldonado, on the record, just told me he might not be with Williams next year. Keeping options open.

        On his day, Maldonado is undeniably fast, but he obviously lacks discipline. The same kind of discipline that Sauber is known to instill in their drivers. And between Perez moving to McLaren and Schumacher confirming his second retirement, there is a guaranteed vacancy at Sauber. Perez’s departure means the team is probably going to be a little short on cash next year, but Maldonado brings the kind of money they need.

        It would be a tremendously unpopular move for Pastor Maldonado to go to Sauber, but if anybody can straighten him out, it’s Peter Sauber. Just imagine what it would be like if he gave us more drives like Barcelona and less like Silverstone …

        • Telmex out, PDVSA in for Sauber? Seriously, does Peter Sauber still have a post in the team or is the Indian-Austrian Monisha Kaltenborn tugging the strings?

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th October 2012, 11:03

            @chicanef1 – Sauber himself will relinquish full control over the team to Kaltenborn at the end of the season. However, and organisation’s culture does not change overnight simply because one variable is added or removed. Even if Sauber himself walked away entirely, the team would still share the same values he brought to it, and they would continue to instill the same values in their drivers. I very much doubt that he will walk away at all, and instead maintain some kind of presence within the team – even if he just visits the Hinwil factory to give the drivers a bit of guidance and support every now and again.

        • Hmm…this is actually very interesting and it would shuffle the midfield all over again. There are already one, maybe even two seats available at Sauber, possibly one at Force India if Massa gets the boot and Ferrari takes on one of Mallya’s drivers and now possibly two seats open at Williams as I’m sure Senna’s gone at the end of the season. This means 5 free seats and just three drivers to fill them, provided Maldonado moves to Sauber, Alguersuari takes the place at Force India or Williams and Bottas takes Senna’s place. This could be a good chance for Gutierrez and Bianchi, to be honest…

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th October 2012, 13:21

            I could see Maldoando and Gutierrez joining Sauber, with Kobayashi moving to Williams alongside Alguersuari. If Ferrari drop Massa, then I imagine they would take di Resta, but only after Hulkenberg passed on the seat because he knows Vettel would join the team in 2014.

            Force India could then recruit Kovalainen, creating an opening at Caterham for Charles Pic, and saving Vitaly Petrov’s seat because Caterham will need all the help they can get chasing Marussia to reclaim tenth in the WCC standings, and a driver who knows the team would be worth more than the money Petrov would normally bring, but he would be on a short leash. With Pic leaving Marussia, Max Chilton would step into the free seat, with the team eyeing off Tio Ellinas for a 2014 start.

          • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 4th October 2012, 16:31

            @prisoner-monkeys

            I could see Maldoando and Gutierrez joining Sauber, with Kobayashi moving to Williams alongside Alguersuari.

            I would like to see those drivers, but with teams swapped – but I could see either happening, to be honest.

        • dot_com (@dot_com) said on 4th October 2012, 13:54

          That would be a blow for Williams financially. I think that with the right driver management, Maldonado could do really well.

      • OK, you’re talking about Raikkonen, Massa and Heidfeld??

    • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 4th October 2012, 9:12

      High five mate

      • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 4th October 2012, 9:57

        Most Sauber drivers, with the exception of Raikkonen all tend to be quite underrated as well, but Peter Sauber has been spotting and nurturing talent for ages now, giving guys like Massa, Heidfeld, Fisi, Kobayashi and now Perez their chance.

        The grid as a whole is truly indebted to Sauber and everything they have managed to achieve.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th October 2012, 10:02

          The only unfortunate downside is that Sauber have never really been able to experience the kind of success they deserve.

          • Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 4th October 2012, 19:21

            Except for the 2008 season, when they seemed to be on their way to greatness with BMW powerhouse behind them. I remember pundits tipping them, before 2009 campaign, as favorites for WCC and Kubica to be a genuine contender for WDC. Yet they blew it. They made fundamental mistakes thus I don’t think they deserved the success. When you have all the ingredients: the drivers, the funds, the staff and you make fundamentally wrong choices – you don’t deserve success.

          • @cyclops-pl I’m not sure what kind of contribution Sauber had in the BMW era. It seemed that Mario Thiessen was calling the shots then, not Peter Sauber.

  2. Tomcat173 (@tomcat173) said on 4th October 2012, 8:19

    Hopefully he doesnt go down the same road Heikki went down when he drove for McLaren. Lets hope Checo can withstand the pressure associated with driving for a top team, and puts on a good showing against JB.

  3. juergen (@juergen) said on 4th October 2012, 8:20

    He seems to be a grounded, determined and fast driver. Maybe there is more chemistry with him and the team as oppose to Mclaren.

  4. Eggry (@eggry) said on 4th October 2012, 8:32

    Never an option? Hmm…

  5. ScuderiaVincero (@scuderiavincero) said on 4th October 2012, 8:37

    All the best for the future Checo. Your humility will take you places :)

  6. smudgersmith1 (@smudgersmith1) said on 4th October 2012, 10:22

    I watch with interest how he will shape up against JB, too close to call, wouldn’t surprise me if he out qualifies Jenson, but finds himself a few points adrift by seasons end.

    • Klaas (@klaas) said on 4th October 2012, 14:35

      I wonder how Jenson will fare under pressure, because he’ll definetly gonna feel that way. If Perez beats him too, his value as a driver and World Champ will drop below sea level and he’ll become the next Coulthard.

  7. The Blade Runner (@thebladerunner) said on 4th October 2012, 11:12

    I have been singing Perez’s praises all season without for a second thinking that he would end-up at McLaren! In my mind he seemed certain to be heading to Ferrari for 2013 and I do think that Montezemolo has made a mistake in ruling him out. As others have said, Perez is both mature and humble yet still an out-and-out “racer” that is genuinely exciting to watch. There isn’t another young driver on the grid that brings such balance. The fact that he also has Telmex backing is something that may prove to be mightily important for McLaren further down the line. In the meantime, I can’t wait for the 2013 season already!

  8. Estesark (@estesark) said on 4th October 2012, 11:24

    Ferrari’s loss.

  9. Ferrari WAS never an option, for a Sergio Perez coming directly from Sauber. Now it is. Or to be precise, will be, in about four years after he gets a world championship or two under his belt, Alonso style.

    • Eric Morman (@lethalnz) said on 4th October 2012, 13:46

      never an option may have been his way of say i am not going to come second in every race, i want to win.

      • If Ferrari were to bring Perez on board they knew they would have to give him and Alonso the equal treatment. Like they did with Massa and Raikkonen a few years back. And we all know that didn’t really work out in the end. Perez is still Ferrari bound, but he is just like Schumacher and Alonso were. “Experience” in Montezemolo’s dictionary means “two or more WDC titles”. Checo will go to Ferrari when it’s time to replace Alonso. Not sooner.

  10. Hairs (@hairs) said on 4th October 2012, 12:46

    Perez is far more mature, thoughtful, intelligent and respectful in his comments about Ferrari than Ferrari have been about him.

    That speaks volumes about which party has the required maturity to work at the top level of Motorsport. I’m glad f1 is mostly free of the tribalism of football, but I, and I suspect many others, look forward to the possibility next year of Perez beating Ferrari drivers all year long due to this sad arrogance.

  11. dot_com (@dot_com) said on 4th October 2012, 13:53

    I like Perez a lot, he is fast and also very respectful – something that is lacking in a lot of F1 drivers these days. I would actually put money on Perez winning his first race with McLaren – that would be a great headline.

    • Klaas (@klaas) said on 4th October 2012, 14:30

      he is fast and also very respectful

      Remeber how Alonso was the nice guy in 2005-2006 who had to race against the Red Baron Schumacher? Then came wonder-rookie Hamilton, also a very pleasant young man in the beginning. After that it was Vettel’s turn to play the good fellow role. If Perez ever becomes succesful with McLaren, expect him to be the next Dr Evil in F1.

    • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 4th October 2012, 14:49

      I agree with you @klaas with regard to some drivers lacking respect. There are a couple who lack respect but FA was scarily respectful in his first few years. Any press conference form 2003 and you would call him timid. Vettel is a nice bloke and although I don’t like the finger, I don’t think its arrogance, i think its just we have seen it many times already and know we will see it many times again. As for LH, his respect and genuine love for the sport was refreshing in 2007. A lot of racers could relate to that. However, now I think he’s a bit big for his boots and wants to be something he is not. Maybe McLaren lack the cool factor he is looking for but if you had shown LH fans pictures of his 2012 self in 2008, many would not have believed you. Checo is a great guy but its easy to be when everyone expects nothing. Once you rock the apple-cart and the press follow you everywhere it can be easy to lose focus and get seen to be a baddie.

      • Klaas (@klaas) said on 4th October 2012, 16:02

        What I meant is that the underdog always wants to appear (or tends to portrayed by the media) as the nice guy and everyone expect him to beat the ‘arrogant’ established-succesful driver. When the underdog does that, he automatically gets the ‘arrogant’ tag and the whole media world searches for a new nice bloke, and so the cycle repeats.

  12. The Blade Runner (@thebladerunner) said on 4th October 2012, 14:37

    There’s an interesting article here… http://www.totalf1.com/full_story/view/430603/Alonso_backs_Hamiltons_move/
    Alonso seems to be saying that life is always better once you move away from McLaren

  13. Jason (@jason12) said on 4th October 2012, 16:41

    I hope the ‘Cold Culture’ at McLaren doesn’t break his spirit.
    He seems like nice fella.

  14. John H (@john-h) said on 5th October 2012, 16:34

    I liked the way he said “And I want to thank McLaren too for taking me on board and to trust on me.” and not: “And I want to thank Vodafone McLaren Mercedes too for taking me on board and to trust on me.”

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