- Hulkenberg denies Sauber move linked with Ferrari
- Alonso says Ferrari row reports 'creative'
- Perez denies losing focus after McLaren news
Hulkenberg denies Sauber move linked with Ferrari
Nico Hulkenberg on Thursday denied he agreed to switch to Sauber next year only to bolster his chances of driving for Ferrari one day.
Former F1 driver turned British Sky television pundit Johnny Herbert expressed surprise at the German's decision to move from Force India, describing as a "sideways" step.
"They're battling for similar placings during the race weekends. So it's not a big step forward," he said.
Hulkenberg, however, did confirm that he had some talks with Ferrari recently about possibly replacing Felipe Massa next year.
The famous Italian team ultimately decided to keep Massa, but it should be noted that Sauber is powered by Ferrari engines, with the Swiss team also often siding politically with the Maranello outfit.
"There were informal conversations," Hulkenberg said in Abu Dhabi, according to the German news agency SID. "We had a little bit of a look at one another, but that's about it."
But when asked if his Sauber move might be interpreted as a move closer to Ferrari for the future, Hulkenberg issued a flat "no".
"Sauber have developed well," he insisted. "They are strong this season.
"I wouldn't have made the decision if I wouldn't consider it the right one."
Alonso says Ferrari row reports 'creative'
Fernando Alonso on Thursday rubbished claims he fell out with Ferrari's technical director Pat Fry in India last weekend as an "invention".
La Stampa newspaper had reported the row, also involving team boss Stefano Domenicali, lasted until 1am after qualifying, in which the Spanish driver was persuaded not to post on Twitter a complaint about a lack of development progress.
"A nice invention from someone in the Italian media," Alonso said in Abu Dhabi, when asked about the report.
"It was quite creative to be honest! Now or later, I will speak to him to see how he invented this."
Alonso said it is no secret Ferrari is struggling to close the gap on his championship rival Sebastian Vettel, but insisted the team is "very united".
"We know and it's a fact that we are slower than Red Bull - we all agree, me, the team, our fans, everyone knows.
"We are very united in our efforts to fix this situation," he added.
Perez denies losing focus after McLaren news
Sergio Perez on Thursday rejected suggestions his form has taken a nosedive because he has already turned his attention to 2013.
From the cockpit of his Sauber last year and in 2012, the 22-year-old Mexican convinced F1 grandee McLaren that he is good enough to replace Lewis Hamilton next season.
But since the news was announced, Perez's form has apparently collapsed: despite his earlier podiums, in Suzuka he crashed, in Korea he finished out of the points and last weekend in India he retired after a run-in with a Toro Rosso - a move said to have particularly displeased his boss Monisha Kaltenborn.
McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh, however, has defended his new signing, albeit admitting Perez is "raw" and adding: "If he hasn't something to learn at 22 then there's something wrong."
In Abu Dhabi on Thursday, meanwhile, Perez scotched claims he has let his focus on this season slip as he gears up for his top 2013 drive.
"I am fully focused," he insisted. "What has happened is just a coincidence.
"I just want to give my best, but it's normal people start to make up stories I'm not doing very well following the McLaren deal."