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.
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."