Perez Aims to Be Ready for Ferrari Call

Sauber's rookie driver Sergio Perez impressed a lot of people at his debut in Formula 1, when he tackled the season opening Australian Grand Prix on a single pitstop strategy to finish in points and ahead of teammate Kamui Kobayashi. Of course, there was the disqualification from the FIA stewards afterwards, that didn't let him enjoy that performance, but still, he showed the world he's F1 material.

And although he didn't match his Australian finish in Malaysia, where a loose part from a rival car caused him to retire, the Mexican driver is now tipped with the best opportunity to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari from as early as 2011.

Apart from enjoying financial backing from Mexican giant Telmex, the Mexican driver is also supported in his F1 efforts by Ferrari, as he is the most important member of the Italian company's driver development academy.

In fact, this is one of the main reasons why Perez was signed by Sauber – apart from the sponsorship money he brought to the team – as the Hinwil based team is currently being supplied engines, transmission and KERS by the Scuderia.

On the other hand, Felipe Massa's days at Maranello might be over soon enough, even though the Brazilian's contract with Ferrari ends in 2012. According to team officials, unless he performs at high level this year – he hasn't won a race in the series since 2008 – he may be shown the door at the end of 2011.

Asked about the prospect of becoming Fernando Alonso's teammate at Ferrari soon, Perez admitted to BBCOne television that preparing for a potential career with the Prancing Horse will be his aim for the season.

“If I was to say no I would be lying. For sure it's a dream for me to drive for them one day,” said Perez. “(On 2012) I think it's too early to say. I think there's a long way to go for me, lots to learn and a lot of work ahead of me. I hope I can be ready for something like this by the end of this year.”
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