Sauber’s Perez understands ‘pay driver’ label

Mon, 21 March 2011, 08:31

Mar.21 (GMM) The services of Sergio Perez was rolled into the major sponsorship offered by Mexican communications giant Telmex.

That is the admission of Monisha Kaltenborn, chief executive of the Swiss formula one team Sauber.

“Sergio is one of the Telmex stable, a programme that supports drivers in various series,” she said in a French language interview with Agence France-Presse.

“The question of whether we wanted one (Perez) or the another (Telmex) was never asked. The two went together,” added Kaltenborn.

Mexican rookie Perez, 21, finished last year’s GP2 championship in second place, behind another driver who has been denounced as a “pay-driver”, Pastor Maldonado.

“I know why some people call me a pay driver,” Perez acknowledged. “This is normal because I have great support from my country.

“But it’s also normal that you get your lucky break if you do good seasons, as I did in GP2,” he insisted.

However, it is widely held that first in line for the Sauber seat was the highly rated Nick Heidfeld, while at Williams, Maldonado’s Venezuelan millions took the place of impressive rookie Nico Hulkenberg.

“It’s not nice to see a guy arrive with a big pile of money to take your seat,” the young German said, “but it’s the way it can work in F1 at the moment.”

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