Mar.26 (GMM) The conspiracy theorists had a field day after the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang when Sergio Perez’s strong push for victory went awry, after a radio message from his engineer.
At about the same time as the young Mexican was told on the radio by his Sauber engineer that “we need the position”, his charge to catch Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso ended with a minor mistake.
Ferrari is Sauber’s engine supplier, and the two teams also often align on political matters.
During the race, with Perez attacking Alonso, the Mexican’s engineer came over the radio saying: “Checo be careful, we need this position.”
“No I don’t think Perez’s mistake was intentional,” former driver and British commentator Martin Brundle wrote on Sky.
But Perez is also the cream of Ferrari’s development driver programme, and linked (by rumour at least) with the struggling Felipe Massa’s race seat.
So he was told to fall in line behind Alonso?
“No,” boss Peter Sauber said emphatically. “100% no, 100% nothing.”
Speaking to media after the race Sauber explained, “We told him be careful, we need the result, because behind us, all of our competitors scored points.”
“We needed the result, not [just] the position, so there is some misunderstanding. Behind us our competitors, all the midfield teams, scored points and it was so important that we kept the result not [just the] position.”
The team boss was then asked outright if there was any collusion with Ferrari, “One hundred per cent – nothing. We had no discussion about Checo and we had no discussion about the position.”