x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Perez and Maldonado keen to stay where they are for 2013

Both the Williams man and the Sauber driver are keen to remain with their respective teams for 2013.

Pastor Maldonado is keen to remain a Williams driver for 2013.
Pastor Maldonado is keen to remain a Williams driver for 2013.

SPA //As the Formula One paddock packed up in Budapest last month ahead of the sport's mandatory midseason break, much of the talk was about how team line-ups might be different by the time racing resumes this weekend.

Valtteri Bottas, the young Finnish reserve driver with Williams, was strongly linked with replacing Bruno Senna, while Sergio Perez, Sauber's Mexican - and a graduate of the Ferrari driver academy - was being linked with the struggling Felipe Massa's seat at Ferrari.

Perez, still with Sauber and sitting in the paddock at Spa-Francorchamps yesterday, said "nothing has changed in the last month", but accepted the time is quickly approaching where a decision must be made for next season.

"It's still a bit early, but it has to be made quite soon, in the next weeks," he said. "I'm not really worried about it. I'm in a good position and I'm just thinking about the second half of the season, which is the most important for me."

The 22 year old has shown impressive talent this year, securing two podiums and coming within a few laps of winning in Malaysia, but with Luca di Montezemolo, the Ferrari president, saying earlier this season that Perez was still too inexperienced to drive for the Italian marque, a move to Maranello for 2013 looks unlikely. Perez insists he is happy to remain where he is.

"Sauber is a great team doing a fantastic job," he said. "When I go to the factory and I see the people so motivated every day, I don't see any reason why I want to leave.

"I'm happy here, and every day I'm more comfortable. I think the team can build a good car for next year, so I don't see any reason to step away from it."

Bottas, who turned 22 earlier this week and was yesterday presented with a birthday cake by Williams, had said he was ready to race after partaking in several practice sessions in the first half of the season.

It was Senna's seat that was said to be under threat, yet after the Brazilian finished seventh in Hungary - his best result in nine races - and his teammate Pastor Maldonado continued his run of having failed to score any points since winning his maiden grand prix in Spain in May, where Bottas fits in does not appear clear.

Maldonado revealed his primary target is to secure his seat at Williams for next season. "We've not had any talks," the Venezuelan said. "They [Williams] will wait for the end of the season. You never know in Formula 1, but I think I am doing quite well. I like the people and have a great relationship with them, but we will see. Anything could happen."

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