|© AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye
Sergio Perez revealed that a drive for Ferrari was not a choice that he was offered despite his strong performances this season and his connection to the Italian team.
The Mexican is a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, which was expected to give the 22-year-old an edge to replace the underperforming Felipe Massa next season, but McLaren jumped in and signed him as a replacement for the outgoing Lewis Hamilton instead.
“We were talking to them but it was never an option,” Perez confirmed.
“It was difficult for Ferrari to make that decision. I think they are happy with Felipe. He's a proven driver as well. I'm not a proven driver, I'm not a guarantee as Felipe is so probably that's why I was never an option for them. The opportunity for me never came so I never saw them as an option for me,” he explained.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo had stated earlier that Perez was too young and not mature enough to represent the Prancing Horse, although the 22-year-old believed otherwise.
“Maybe to drive for Ferrari you need more experience. I think he has his arguments,” Perez said. “Maybe I'm too young to join a team like Ferrari. I don't know. I feel ready to drive for a top team and to fight for the championship.”
Perez is currently driving for Sauber and hopes to leave the Swiss team on a high before he switches to McLaren next season, a deal which he denied when he was confronted about it last month.
“There had been some talks before but I didn’t want to give too much information about my opportunities, my options,” Perez confessed. “Because if I had said ‘yes’ at that time, then I will be full of questions. I wanted to keep it in low profile, giving my hundred percent to my team.”
Announced as a replacement for Hamilton, Perez realises that he has big shoes to fill but was eager to register his first victory in F1 with the British outfit.
“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,” he reckoned.
His future teammate Jenson Button was sure that the line-up would work well next year.
“I don’t really think Sergio needs any advice. He’s let his driving do the talking and he’s had some very good performances over the last couple of years and that’s the reason he’s got the drive he has at the moment and why he’s got the drive he has next year,” Button observed.