Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn has urged McLaren-bound Sergio Perez to remember that helping his current squad to a strong finish to the Formula 1 season is still important for his career and reputation.
Perez has been involved in a string of incidents since he was announced as McLaren's replacement for Lewis Hamilton in 2013 shortly before the Japanese Grand Prix. The latest drama came in Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where Perez was in the hunt for a top-five finish before being penalized for his part in a tangle with Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean. Both Grosjean and Mark Webber, who was collected by the unfolding chaos, had to retire as a result. Perez finished 15th after repairs and his penalty.
Asked if Perez's mistakes meant he was getting distracted by thoughts of his McLaren future, Kaltenborn replied: "I guess it's just unfortunate situations he's found himself in, or has maybe caused to a certain extent. He's very professional about finishing his career at Sauber in a very good way.
"I think if he can contribute to us having a fantastic position at the end of the season, it's a tribute to him as well and speaks for him when he moves onto the next team."
She felt Perez's penalty was harsh but ultimately correct.
"There were many elements to what actually happened," said Kaltenborn. "Some of it was definitely harsh, but we have seen that the FIA is pretty hard these days - which is right because you want to avoid these kind of situations in the future."
Perez's teammate Kamui Kobayashi finished sixth, allowing Sauber to close to within 12 points of Mercedes in the battle for fifth in the constructors' championship. Kaltenborn acknowledged that had Perez delivered the result he looked capable of, that fight would now be very finely poised.
"At the end of the day it doesn't matter to say whose fault it was," she said. "He was looking very good and I think had we been able to score with both cars we would have really closed the gap [on Mercedes] a lot more."