Date: 13th September 2012 at 9:26am
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Outspoken Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo may have killed off any hopes that Sergio Perez had of moving to Ferrari for the 2013 season.

For well over a year, experts in the paddock and the media have written off Felipe Massa from signing a contract extension with Scuderia.

The Brazilian driver is out-of-contract at the end of the season and Ferrari have been linked with a number of drivers in the paddock.

Both Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have reportedly held talks with Ferrari.

Reports suggest that Vettel may have even signed pre-contract papers with Ferrari, although this has been played down by all parties, while Webber was said to be in advanced talks over a switch before he decided to stay with Red Bull.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was said to have held brief talks, before Fernando Alonso vetoed any possible switch for the Brit, whilst team-mate Jenson Button was also linked in the media before he signed a contract extension with McLaren.

But the one driver who had constantly remained the favourite for the seat was Sauber driver Sergio Perez.

The 22-year-old Mexican has had an impressive season for Sauber, scoring three podium places and defeating both Alonso and Massa last time out around Monza.

He is also part of the Ferrari young driver programme and a switch appeared to be the most logical step, especially considering Perez visited Maranello on Tuesday as part of a review into his ongoing development, however in what can only be seen as a blow to his chances Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has publicly stated that it’s too soon for Perez to make the move to Ferrari.

‘Next season is too early, I’m very pleased for him because first of all it showed that our choice when we picked up him as a young driver was good. Then it is thanks to Sauber, thanks to the Ferrari Academy, he grow up. he told Sky Sports.

‘To put a young guy to Ferrari with the pressure of Ferrari, you need more experience.’

So with Perez seemingly out of the picture and with Ferrari only wanting an experienced head, who could Ferrari turn too?

Well options are limited, which could re-open the door for Felipe Massa to perhaps gain an extra 12 months with Ferrari?

‘We were really proud of the race [at Monza] of Felipe. Also qualifying was really good, He is a great driver, a professional driver, and that [you] know how personally I’m really behind him. Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali told the press after the race on Sunday.

‘He’s performing this weekend the way that we wanted and there are no plans to accelerate or decelerate the process [confirming Ferrari’s driver line-up]. We are talking together and we will keep you informed of course.’