McLaren in contact with Perez for 2013

Sauber Motorsport AG

16 September 2012 by Ryan Wood

McLaren have reportedly contacted Sergio Perez and his management about a possible move to the British outfit for the 2013 season, should Lewis Hamilton leave the team.

The report from the Daily Mail claims the Woking outfit is lining up a number of drivers as potential replacements in an effort not to be "outmanoeuvred" by Hamilton and his management company, XIX Entertainment, should they decide to go elsewhere and leave McLaren in the lurch over their 2013 line-up.

"McLaren's approach to the 22-year-old Sauber driver is an indication the team are growing impatient with the negotiating strategy of Hamilton's management," the newspaper reports.

"The move is the beginning of the end game. Hamilton may find his future is taken out of his own hands with the spectre of Perez being courted by McLaren, who do not want to be outmanoeuvred by the 27-year-old British driver."

Whilst Perez is part of Ferrari's junior academy, the Italian outfit has no plans to promote the Mexican to a race seat alongside Fernando Alonso next season.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo claims Perez, who has stood on the podium three times this season, is too inexperienced for Ferrari.

"Perez is a good driver but to drive a Ferrari you need more experience," said Montezemolo earlier this year. "I think he is one of the potential best young drivers for the future, but before putting a young driver in a Ferrari I need [to see] more experience and more results."

This means Perez is somewhat free to leave the Ferrari academy to join McLaren if he so wishes.

It's also reported that McLaren have contact Heikki Kovalainen who left the team at the end of 2009, joining upstart Caterham. The Finn is keen to relocate to a more established outfit after three years at the back of the grid.

Hamilton remains tight-lipped on his plans for next season, but many in the paddock believe he has agreed terms with Mercedes. A decision is expected to be made before the Singapore GP, though a public announcement may come later.