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Perez lands 2011 Sauber seat

ESPNF1 Staff
October 4, 2010 « Heidfeld confident he will stay in F1 next year | »
Sergio Perez won the GP2 feature race at Monaco this year © Sutton Images

Sergio Perez will line-up alongside Kamui Kobayashi at Sauber next year in a new deal involving Mexican communications giant Telmex.

Perez looks set to finish as runner up in this year's GP2 championship, after taking four wins in the series so far. The 20-year-old was the 2007 British F3 champion in the national class and started karting at the age of six.

The news means that Nick Heidfeld, drafted in to replace Pedro de la Rosa for the final five races of this season, will not stay at the team as a race driver in 2011.

"Sergio has been on a continuous upward curve over the past few years," said Sauber. "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."

Perez added: "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."

Perez has been supported from an early age by Escuderia Telmex, a driver development programme backed by the world's richest man Carlos Slim. Slim's Telmex corporation will feature heavily on the Sauber cars next year as part of a new sponsorship deal.

"Telmex has been involved in motor sport for a number of years already and supports drivers in various race series," explained Sauber. "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."

And to clarify the situation, Sauber told The Daily Telegraph: "I own 100% of the shares, and I have no plans to sell the team or part of it."

Slim added: "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."

Mexican GP3 champion Esteban Gutiérrez, another member of Escuderia Telmex, has already been signed as a Sauber test driver for next year.