Perez plays down Ferrari talk

Mexican Sergio Perez has played down talk that he is set to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari.

Sergio Perez, fresh from two podium finishes in the last three races, said he was interested only in the challenge of this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix.   -  AP

Mexican Sergio Perez has played down talk that he is set to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari.

The 26-year-old Force India driver, fresh from two podium finishes in the last three races, said he was interested only in the challenge of this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix and over the next month.

"I've been in this position before in 2012, and the last thing I want is to distract myself," he told reporters on Thursday in Spielberg.

"I want to come here and do my job -- and it's the same for my team. I don't like my team to be distracted from that. We're here to race and we have five weeks very important in the calendar and our main focus should be to maximise everything that we can, to come away with as many points as possible."

The highly-rated Latin American, a member of Ferrari's Driver Academy before joining McLaren in 2013, added that he felt a sense of deja-vu.

"I think always when you do well in a race in F1 you're straightaway linked to Ferrari - it's the biggest team so it means you are doing well. It's the same for many other drivers if your performance is going well and that's the good thing about it. As a driver, it makes you feel proud. And, for me, especially after how my career has been in the past years to finally realise that I'm back there again. Although they are only rumours, I know that I am doing a good job, that I'm performing well, working well with the team."

Asked about his future with Force India, he said: "To be honest, in the next five weeks, we have four races... It is a part of the season that is crucial so my focus is here on that. I have my management to worry about the other things..."