October 5, 2012 / 10:42 AM / 5 years ago

Motor racing-Sauber say Perez will not trigger Mexican exit

SUZUKA, Japan, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Sergio Perez’s main Mexican backers will stick with Sauber despite the driver’s departure for McLaren at the end of the season, the Swiss team’s chief executive Monisha Kaltenborn said on Friday.

Perez is backed by Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex), the telecoms provider run by Carlos Slim Domit whose father is the world’s richest man.

Sauber also have several other Mexican sponsors prominent on their Formula One cars, including leading Tequila brand Jose Cuervo.

“We know that Telmex, that is Mr Carlos Slim Domit, has publicly stated that his project with Sauber, regarding the Escuderia Telmex, is a long-term project,” Kaltenborn told a news conference at the Japanese Grand Prix.

“So it will not be affected by Sergio’s leaving the team.”

McLaren’s title sponsor is British-based telecoms giant Vodafone, who do not have any Mexican interests.

Sauber’s reserve and test driver for the past two years has been another Telmex-backed young Mexican, Esteban Gutierrez.

Kaltenborn said what the team did with him was “totally independent” from Perez’s departure and would not comment on his chances of inheriting the vacant Sauber seat. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by John Mehaffey)

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