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Telmex to continue as Sauber sponsor
Sauber has no concerns about its major Mexican sponsors leaving the team now that Sergio Perez has signed a deal to drive for McLaren in 2013.
When Perez came to Sauber two years ago he brought with him backing from telecommunications giant Telmex, and companies related to it feature heavily on the car. But Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn said she has had assurances from Telmex board member Carlos Slim Domit that his company will remain committed to supporting the team and its young driver programme, Escuderia Telmex.
"Well, to start with, the prospect for next season is good," Kaltenborn said. "We are very confident we will be around, for hopefully more years. As for the sponsors, we know that Telmex, that is Mr Slim Domit has also publically stated that his project with Sauber, regarding the Escuderia Telmex, is a long-term project, so it will not be affected by Sergio's leaving the team."
Sauber has other Mexican "premium partners" that joined the team on the back of Perez's contract and Kaltenborn said those could also stay.
"It's a natural link there, obviously, because they are from the same country, but it is not just all that simple that because one driver leaves us all these sponsors will leave. It doesn't necessarily have to mean that."
Sauber currently has Mexican GP2 driver Esteban Gutierrez as a reserve driver, but Kaltenborn said it would not automatically follow that he would be made a race driver in 2013.
"We still have to sort things out," she said. "Regarding Esteban, he's been with the team a long time, and this goes back to Formula BMW times, and whatever we do with him, and he's been our reserve and test driver for the past two years, is something totally independent from Sergio's leaving and we don't really want to mix them together. We'll announce whatever we have to in due course."