Sergio Perez has already been “contacted” by other F1 teams after speculation intensified that he could be replaced by Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin in 2021.
The Mexican revealed the approach when speaking at the press conference on the eve of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend – and described the Vettel rumours as “part of the game”.
Vettel is seeking a drive after being released by Ferrari when his contract expires at the end of this season and Aston Martin, as the Racing Point team will be rebranded next year, have emerged as strong favourites to hire the four-time former World Champion.
With Racing Point owned by Lawrence Stroll, father of driver Lance Stroll, it is generally perceived that it is Perez’s place that is under threat from Vettel.
Perez has been with the team since 2014, when it was known as Force India, and is believed to have a contract until the end of 2022.
He was voted Driver of the Day in the Styrian Grand Prix when he finished sixth having started 17th on the grid.
At the Budapest press conference, in quotes reported by Autosport, Perez said about his future: “In Formula 1, you never know until you’re going to start the race if you’re going to be racing. This is how things are. I know I’ve got a contract.
“During the week, obviously the rumours came out and we actually got contacted by a team in the paddock – I won’t say names, obviously – and also by other teams in categories, which was quite a surprise because we have a contract for next year here.
“At the moment, there are just rumours around. Nothing more to add from my side other than we’ve got a contract in place.”
'Sebastian Vettel to Aston Martin, Lawrence Stroll triggers Sergio Perez exit clause'
— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) July 15, 2020
It has been reported that a break clause in Perez’s Racing Point contract would allow the team to drop him for next year but must be triggered by July 31.
A seat with Haas or Alfa Romeo would appear the most likely option for Perez in 2021 were he to leave Racing Point.
Perez dismissed suggestions of any frustration over the speculation, calling it “part of the game”.
He added: “The team has taken a good step forward so it’s good to have big names linked to the team because that means we are doing a good job and we are making progress. I think the team should be proud of it.
“And the rest? I’ve been in Formula 1 for 10 years so I’m used to this stuff.”