He’s not even raced in F1 yet but the rumour mill is already linking him with a seat at the sport’s most famous team. What a ridiculous business this is.
Sergio Perez, who was this week confirmed as a Sauber driver for 2011, will also become part of the Ferrari Driver Academy upon his arrival in F1. The academy – which isn’t an academy in the sense that Police Academy was, but rather a young driver mentoring programme – also currently includes GP2 hotshoe Jules Bianchi and GP3 racer Mirko Bortolotti. This has already set tongues wagging that the Scuderia are lining the Mexican up as a replacement for the unhappy Felipe Massa in 2012.
Ironically, Massa landed his Ferrari seat whilst racing for Sauber, and replaced Rubens Barichello at the Italian squad after ol’ Ruby became tired of acting as Michael Schumacher’s number two. Five years down the line, Massa appears none too happy about being number two to Fernando Alonso, and could himself be replaced by an upcoming Sauber driver.
Will it happen? Well, it makes sense on paper: Perez is nearly a decade Alonso’s junior, and so would quite possibly accept being his number two (which is clearly what Fernando wants) in order to land a Ferrari seat. Massa, on the other hand, is a proven title challenger and clearly not keen to play second fiddle to anyone at this stage in his career.
If Sergio proves quick and Massa is forced to back Alonso up again in 2011 we wouldn’t be too surprised to see Felipe agree an early contract termination and Perez stepping in to replace him. Ferarri might also enjoy a little investment from Sergio’s backers Telmex, whose owner Carlos Slim is officially the world’s richest man. Now that’s what you call walkin’ around money.
Of course it’s all hot air – Perez could be useless in an F1 car and Massa could turn things around and beat Alonso in 2011. But, if it does come to pass, remember where you read it first…