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Perez committed to Sauber for 2012
Sergio Perez insists he will stay at Sauber for the rest of the season despite rumours linking him to a Ferrari drive after his remarkable second-place finish in Malaysia.
Even before the Malaysian Grand Prix there were rumours that Felipe Massa, who has yet to score a point or qualify in the top ten this season, could be replaced before the end of the year. Ferrari has denied the speculation with team principal Stefano Domenicali saying: "We have an obligation to stay close to him [Massa], which is as it should be in such a closely knit team."
But McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh couldn't resist stoking the speculation while speaking to Sky Sports about Perez's performance. "I imagine he has put a bit of pressure on Mr Massa, I guess on that one," he said. "I don't know what the odds are on him switching teams before China, but there must be some consideration there."
However, Perez, who is a member of Ferrari's Driver Academy, denied he has any plans to leave Sauber this season.
"My full commitment is with my team, with Sauber F1 team," he said. "It's only the second race of the season and there's still a long way to go so we have to keep improving, especially because we are a small team, so for us, it's getting closer to development, the others can improve more so it's important we remain focused. Obviously it's only rumours but no, I will stay with Sauber for the whole season."
Malaysian Grand Prix race winner and current Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso praised Perez, but said his team is determined to help Massa.
"At the moment, as Sergio said, he is concentrated on Sauber, which is the obligation on the contract side," Alonso said. "Ferrari's Driver Academy is doing a great job with young talents and I think if Sergio is in the Academy it's because Ferrari saw big talent in this guy. Today, the victory was not possible, but I think a win will come sooner rather than later for Sergio.
"At the moment, with Felipe, we are a very strong team, a very united team and I don't see any possibility not to race alongside Felipe, because I think we are a strong team. I think Felipe had some problems in the race in Australia but here, changing a couple of things in the car, he was competitive. Yesterday he was P12 and when it was red flagged he was already eighth, so I think with a normal race and hopefully when the car improves, Felipe and I need to be on the podium together. That's the goal for the remainder of the season."