Jun.23 (GMM) As F1's 'silly season' shifts into a high gear in Valencia, the cameras snapped with glee on Friday when Sergio Perez and his manager Jaume Sallares walked calmly into Ferrari's hot-red motor home.

Sergio Perez, Sauber
Sergio Perez, Sauber

Photo by: xpb.cc

Mexican Perez, of course - whilst undoubtedly linked with Felipe Massa's race cockpit for 2013 - is also the cream of Ferrari's driver development programme.

So Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni was able to joke when he answered to Spain's AS newspaper: "He has signed ... he has come to sign."

Another rumour in the Valencia paddock is that Caterham's Heikki Kovalainen is also a candidate to replace Massa.

"At the moment I'm hearing that Perez is not the first in the queue," MTV3 journalist Erkki Mustakari said.

"Heikki's strong performances have been noted," he insisted, whilst conceding "This is all largely speculative."

Indeed, Finn Kovalainen, 30, said his talks about a contract beyond 2012 have not even begun.

"There are no negotiations in any direction yet," he revealed, "as there are probably a few drivers ahead of me who have not made their decisions yet."