Perez: Ferrari often asked me to take care of Alonso

The Mexican’s comments will ramp up speculation that the famous Italian team uses its political links in the paddock for a performance advantage.

Perez, formerly under Ferrari power at Sauber and also the cream of the Maranello marque’s driver development academy (FDA), suddenly switched allegiances for 2013 as he accepted the offer to replace Lewis Hamilton at McLaren.

He had been asked by Spanish sports newspaper Marca if he feels a difference when he looks in the mirror and sees world champion Sebastian Vettel, or Ferrari’s Alonso.

“In my case no,” he answered. “I make no distinction between them. Last year, when I was communicating with Ferrari, they often asked me to take care of Alonso, but I don’t know if they asked just me or the whole grid.”

Asked if he sees leaving the Ferrari family as a missed opportunity, the 23-year-old answered: “No, it’s an experience that led me to a better place. I’m happy at McLaren; I hope to stay here for many years, maybe my entire career.”

Although currently at the wheel of a struggling McLaren, Perez insisted he was happy in Melbourne to have been quite close to lead driver Jenson Button’s pace.

“I’m happy with that because Jenson is one of the very best drivers,” he said. “He has won in Melbourne three times. I didn’t know where I would be compared to him, so while it’s not a relief it is reassuring that I am strong and close to a world champion.”