• 10
The dream of having an American team in Formula One may be dead, but that doesn't mean our friends South of the Border can't take a stab at it. A couple of years ago, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim was tied to potentially buying out Honda's F1 team when the Japanese automaker was preparing to withdraw from the sport. That deal never came to be, but the world's wealthiest man (having recently surpassed the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett) appears to be moving in on the Sauber team.
After racing for years as an independent team, Sauber sold out to BMW a few years back, which then subsequently followed Honda off the grid, leaving Peter Sauber to support the team on his own once again. Strapped for cash, the team has been racing plain white cars largely without major sponsorship this season, but a new deal could secure the team's future.

The deal involves sponsorship from Slim's company Telmex for an untold amount. Along with it, Sauber has signed Mexican driver Sergio Perez to a race seat for next season. Perez won the national class in British Formula Three back in 2007, drove for Team Mexico in A1GP and has won several races in GP2, a series in which he currently sits second. He's never driven an F1 car, though, but will race alongside Kamui Kobayashi next season. The news leaves Nick Heidfeld without a seat yet again as Perez signs as well with the Ferrari Driver Academy.

Coupled with the recently-announced contract to bring in GP3 champion Esteban Gutierrez, who also races under the Mexican flag as the team's test/reserve driver for next season, the news gives the struggling Swiss team a decidedly picante flavor for the upcoming season.

[Source: Sauber]
Show full PR text

Sauber Motorsport sign Sergio Perez as race driver and announce partnership with Telmex

Hinwil, 4th October 2010. Sauber Motorsport have signed a contract with Sergio Perez. The 20-year old Mexican driver will line up alongside Kamui Kobayashi for Peter Sauber's team in the 2011 Formula One World Championship.

Sergio Perez has been a member of Escuderia Telmex, which supports racing drivers in various categories, for a number of years. He finished second in this year's GP2 Series, winning four races – including the prestigious championship round in Monaco – in the process. Sergio began his career in Karting, where he won a total of five championships. He followed that up with two years in Formula BMW before moving on to the National Class of the British F3 International Series, where he won a still record 14 races. In 2008 he finished fourth in the International Class of the British F3 International Series. In GP2 Asia he became the series' youngest race winner at the age of 18.

Sergio Perez: "Formula One is the dream of every young racing driver. And now this dream is about to come true for me. Although I'm very much aware that this is also a big challenge and responsibility, I'm happy to accept that and am proud to be representing my country in the highest category of motor racing. I would like to thank Peter Sauber for the faith he's shown in me and I'll do everything I can to make the most of this wonderful opportunity."

Peter Sauber: "Sergio has been on a continuous upward curve over the past few years. He demonstrated his fighting spirit in races over the course of last season and proved that he's ready to take the step up into Formula One. I look forward to working with him and am in no doubt that, in Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi, we will have a strong driver pairing."

Today Sauber Motorsport also announce the start of the team's partnership with Telmex. The Mexican telecommunications company's logos will have a significant presence on the Sauber Motorsport racing cars as from the coming season.

Telmex is a corporation made up of Teléfonos de México, S.A.B. de C.V. and subsidiaries providing telecommunications services in Mexico. The company's service coverage comprises the operations of the nation's most complete local and long distance networks. Additionally, Telmex also offers services including connectivity, internet access, co-location, web hosting and interconnection services to other telecommunications operators.

Telmex Chairman Carlos Slim Domit says: "Sauber has been not only a very successful racing team but also a strong talent developer of some of the most recognized names in racing since their early stages as well as one of the most respected people in the sport. Their decision of having Sergio with them is very significant on his career to become a top driver representing Mexico. For Telmex and our racing project Escuderia Telmex it's a great step forward, and we feel very proud to be able to consolidate these years of work for having a Mexican driver in F1 with Sauber Motorsport."

Peter Sauber explains: "Telmex has been involved in motor sport for a number of years already and supports drivers in various race series. Now they are making the key step up into the top category of motor racing, and we are happy and proud that they are taking this step with us. Telmex is an outstanding company and represents a strong partner for our team. We are looking forward to a fruitful partnership."

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is that Tom Cruise in that picture? lol

      • 4 Years Ago
      I would like to see Kobayashi get a ride in a little better equipment just to see what he could do if he were more competitive from the start, making Q3 most of the time etc. Maybe if Renault were to let Petrov go Kobayashi could land there.
      • 4 Years Ago
      For a website specialized in car news... hmm! This happened last week!.
        • 4 Years Ago
        But yeah come on autoblog all want fresh news, even the no specialized magazines, newspapers, and T.V. shows have more fresh news on F1
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yup, now the next big news with sauber is they're set to announce sponsorship ties with Panasonic. Seeing how much panasonic been supporting Kobayashi during the Toyota days, it's hardly surprising.
        • 4 Years Ago
        One of the basic principles of journalism is that if you didn't cover the story when it actually happened, just ignore it if you cannot bring another aspect to it or put it in a different perspective. And then don't report it as a news.

        What about ...
        Sauber going Mexican leaves drivers' market in turmoil (fictional)
        Heidfeld F1 talks accelerated after Sauber going Mexican (likely)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Glad to see that Kobayashi still has a drive.
      • 4 Years Ago
      And I'm sure a good driver like Heidfeld will find a drive next season, expecially with his Pirelli experience.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Picante? You're a really lazy, racist writer. Mexico is American, by the way.