* Perez to partner Kobayashi at Sauber
* F1 team announces deal with Telmex
(Clarifies fourth para quote as being from Slim's son)
By Alan Baldwin
LONDON, Oct 4 Mexico's Sergio Perez will race
for Sauber next season, the Swiss-based Formula One team said on
Monday as they announced a new partnership with the firm run by
Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, the world's richest man.
The 20-year-old rookie will join Japan's Kamui Kobayashi,
whose contract has already been extended, in the 2011 driver
Perez was runner-up in this year's GP2 support series and
has been supported for some years by Telmex, the Mexican
telecommunications company run by Slim, who has an estimated net
worth of $53.5 billion according to Forbes magazine.
"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 having a Mexican driver in F1
with Sauber Motorsport," said Carlos Slim Domit, the
billionaire's eldest son and Telmex chairman, in a statement.
Sauber, who faced an uncertain future when previous owners
BMW pulled out of the sport at the end of last season, will also
have Mexican teenager Esteban Gutierrez as their test and
reserve driver next year.
The car will have "significant" Telmex branding on it from
"Telmex is an outstanding company and represents a strong
partner for our team. We are looking forward to a fruitful
partnership," said team principal and owner Peter Sauber.
The arrival of Perez, while seemingly assuring Sauber's
financial health and putting lucrative branding on what has been
a plain white car this year, spelled the end of Nick Heidfeld's
hopes of staying with the team.
The German, who raced for Sauber last year, was called up as
a replacement for Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa for the final five
races of this year.
"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
The last Mexican to race in Formula One was Hector Rebaque
for now-defunct Brabham in 1981.
The country's most successful F1 racers were the Rodriguez
brothers Pedro and Ricardo, both of whom died in motor racing
Pedro won two grands prix with Cooper and BRM, in South
Africa and Belgium in 1967 and 1970 respectively, and Ricardo
made five starts for Ferrari before being killed in practice for
his home race in 1962.
Mexico City also hosted 15 Formula One races between
1963-1970 and 1986-1992.
"Formula One is the dream of every young racing driver. And
now this dream is about to come true for me," Perez said in the
"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
(Editing by Ed Osmond; To query or comment on this story