Sauber sign Sergio Perez for 2011

2011 F1 season

Sergio Perez, GP2, 2010

Mexican driver Sergio Perez will make his F1 debut for Sauber in 2011.

Perez will partner Kamui Kobayashi who has already be confirmed for next year.

Nick Heidfeld, who took Pedro de la Rosa’s place in the team at the previous round will not continue as a racing driver with the team beyond the end of this season.

Perez said:

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 currently lies second in the GP2 championship behind Pastor Maldonado, who has already been crowned champion.

Sauber has also announced it will be sponsored by Mexican telecommunications giant Telmex as of next year.

Team principal Peter Sauber said:

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

Sauber previously announced another Mexican driver, Esteban Gutierrez, as their 2011 test driver.

The last Mexican driver to start an F1 race was Hector Rebaque for Brabham in the 1981 Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Read more: 2011 F1 drivers and teams

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100 comments on Sauber sign Sergio Perez for 2011

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  1. Rucknar (@superted666) said on 4th October 2010, 17:16

    Quick Nicks chances blasted then!

  2. Setroc said on 4th October 2010, 17:16

    Congrats to Perez, but this is surely a money decision. If I was Sauber I’d be a little bit worried about having two young aggressive drivers as my line up.

    • Both of these drivers bring cash to crash :)

      • Krosh said on 5th October 2010, 2:37

        Nowadrays all a driver needs to reach the F1 is nothing, but to be supported by a big company with a lot of money to spend. There is no classic battle anymore, all decision is taken based on how much money is possible to win.

    • demos12 said on 4th October 2010, 19:51

      Yup, there’s a lot of money coming from Carlos Slim & Telmex

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th October 2010, 19:59

      But this is hardly a situation unknown to Sauber. Think back at the fast but crash-prone lineup of rookies Raikönnen and Massa some years back.

      I think this is pretty much a strategic desicion for the team future.

    • F1iLike said on 4th October 2010, 20:02

      Kobayashi has proven himself to not be just another young aggressive driver though.

    • Xanathos said on 4th October 2010, 23:53

      They once had one driver with one not so good season behind him and one rookie which was considered a liability by many other teams. That season was their best ever…

  3. Kevin said on 4th October 2010, 17:21

    Nick’s F1 career is going to be over at the end of 2010 i’m afraid

  4. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 4th October 2010, 17:22

    Glad to see Nick given a go at the end of the year but I’m up for new talent coming into the sport. Nick’s had his time and it will be nice to see a new driver in the field.

    Speaking of drivers who have had their time. Trulli should hurray up and leave soon too.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 4th October 2010, 19:00

      i have a feeling Heidfeld, Liuzzi, and Trulli will all be gone next year.

      • Todfod said on 4th October 2010, 19:33

        I think Trulli’s contract was for 2 or 3 seasons.. but I could be wrong.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th October 2010, 20:01

          But there have been some paddock insiders saying Trulli will call it quits of his own account at the end of the year, freeing up space for someone else.

          • Adam Smith said on 5th October 2010, 8:42

            I think you can just tell with Trulli that he has almost fallen out of love with F1, by watching his interviews. Compare him and Kovalainen on TV and Heikki is so much more energetic and up for the massive struggle that will be Lotus for the next few years. Jarno on the other hand looks a little weiry and worried. I think it would be a shame to lose such a passionate F1 driver (remember his little rant at Sutil at Brazil last year!).

            As for Sauber, I welcome two young drivers as they are going to bring some excitement, with some daring overtaking moves and silly mistakes. What did De la Rosa bring to the “spectacle” apart from watching a Damon Hill look alike on tv.

            Losing Heidfeld is dissapointing, but as much as I like him, he was never the most exciting of drivers, he would just work his way up the feild, taking advantage of peoples mistakes.

      • alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 28th September 2012, 14:52

        Correct – Heidfeld was dropped in mid-2011, Liuzzi was dropped at the end of 2011, and Trulli was gone after the start of 2012 pre-season testing (but had only tested, not raced the 2012 car)

  5. James said on 4th October 2010, 17:26

    Hmmm. Assuming that Schumacher is indeed at Mercedes next year, that only leaves the Renault seat and possibly one at Force India as “decent” choices for Nick.

    Good choice in signing Perez though. Cant help but feel that sponsership has something to do with this, but a good move none-the-less.

    • plushpile said on 4th October 2010, 23:38

      Of course the sponsorship has something to do with it.
      Sauber don’t want to be driving around in plain white cars again next year…

      • Xanathos said on 4th October 2010, 23:56

        There’s nothing wrong with signing a 20-year-old who is about to finish second in his second year in GP2. If there would be more free seats someone might sign him without any sponsorship.
        So if you have some millions coming with him, you won’t say no, would you?

        • James said on 5th October 2010, 0:29

          Well Perez has tallent as well as a certain Carlos Slim’s billions, so best of luck to the fella.

  6. For once my prediction was actually right! I’ve been saying Telmex sponsorship for Sauber with Perez in a race seat and Guttierez as reserve driver for ages. There’s a first time for everything!

    I’m not a huge fan of Heidfeld, but I do feel slightly sorry for him. I think his F1 career is probably over for good. Webber showed last year that it is possible to have a late career surge. But Perez is a promising young driver (I rate him higher than Maldonado to be honest) and his sponsorship is needed to keep Sauber in business, which benefits Kobayashi as well. He’s no Alex Yoong in terms of talent, thats for sure.

    • Todfod said on 4th October 2010, 20:04

      As much as I like seeing new blood in F1, I do feel sorry for the ‘what if’ drivers. Until last season, I thought the best drivers not to have won a race were Nick Heidfeld, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg. Mark got his chance last season, and I’m sure Rosberg will get his chance too. But Nick never got that lucky despite giving superstar teammates a very hard time.

      Anyways, I would not see any good out of Nick joining a midfield team like Sauber. He deserves a good car, and if he cannot land any of the top teams, he should retire with his head held up high. I still hope Schumi throws in the towel to avoid further embarrassment, and consequently, Nick gets a decent drive.

  7. Yes, I’ve been waiting for this for nearly 2 years ever since Perez caught my eye in the 2008-09 GP2 Asia series.

  8. Robbie said on 4th October 2010, 17:44

    Put Nick in Renault.

  9. Scribe (@scribe) said on 4th October 2010, 17:45

    I’m not sure about this, I know it’s Sauber’s wont but doesn’t he need some experience in there? Perez must be bringing an awful lot of cash. Still, I hope he’s good enough to help push Sauber forward, an I hope Kamui’s quick enough to get another Scalp.

  10. sato113 said on 4th October 2010, 17:47

    wouldn’t Maldanado be a better choice? seeing as he won the gp2…

    • jose arellano said on 4th October 2010, 17:51

      nope… bad luck is the reason sergio didnt won

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 4th October 2010, 19:08

      Maldonado doesn’t come with Telmex kind of money. Pérez is also a lot younger and has more potential years in the sport.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th October 2010, 20:04

      But Maldonado comes with Venezuelan money (I think that is quite a different thing from a team development point of view for Sauber).

    • But Maldonado has been hanging around in GP2 for some time. Like Giorgio Pantano a few years ago, it was win or bust in 2010. Perez has spent considerably less time in the series and ran Maldonado close.

      Plus Perez comes with money.

      • plushpile said on 4th October 2010, 23:42

        Nail. Head. Hit.
        The longer you take to win GP2 the less it is worth, hence why Pantano doesn’t have an F1 drive and why Maldonado is reasonably unlikely to get one…

        • Xanathos said on 5th October 2010, 0:01

          It would be pretty disappointing if Maldonado wouldn’t get a drive. Of course, he has been in GP2 for four years, but so were Petrov and Di Grassi. And comaparing him with Pantano is simply unfair. Before his rather long GP2 stint, Pantano already spent three years in F3000 and one year in F1. So he definetely had his chance, unlike Maldonado.

  11. Charles Carroll said on 4th October 2010, 17:56

    Exciting pick for those of us in North America. Its great to see him get a chance to race, and with a fairly decent team. Kamui will certainly start out as the number one driver next year, but anything is possible.

  12. Andrew White said on 4th October 2010, 18:11

    So we shall the return of blue Saubers next year then.

  13. it makes the decision to get rid of Pedro even more questionable.

    I wonder if Heidfeld knew he would only be in the seat this year as well, because he seems to be a bit of a pawn in the whole thing.

    But anyway, that’s F1, I suppose, and its good to see Sauber’s future probably secured with the Telmex money.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 4th October 2010, 19:13

      I’m guessing Heidfeld knew. He’s made statements that definitely gave the impression he was trying to use this as his audition for other teams for next year.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th October 2010, 20:09

      I am pretty sure he knew and grabbed the opportunity or even pushed for it all the way since about Barcelona.

      In any case getting some Pirelli laps and now 5 races in 2010 on his CV will make him a lot better prospect for any possible drive next year (although I am not certain about his options) than without them.

      I always thought this would be only about
      1. Having better comparison for Kobayashi
      2. Same if not better hope of points scored with Nick instead of Pedro
      3. Possibly some experience from Nick and giving Pedro the opportunity to get a permanent job with Pirelli.

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 4th October 2010, 23:12

        Although Pedro’s now quoted as saying he’d rather race at the back of the grid than be a test driver. Maybe he’ll end up at HRT next year to help them develop their car?

  14. Zecks said on 4th October 2010, 18:18

    I wouldn’t be surprised if maldanado has some arrangement with a leading team as test driver next season

  15. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 4th October 2010, 18:27

    Mexican driver Sergio Perez will make his F1 debut for Sauber in 2011.

    Sauber previously announced another Mexican driver, Esteban Gutierrez, as their 2011 test driver.

    Sauber has also announced it will be sponsored by Mexican telecommunications giant Telmex as of next year.

    Anyway, kinda makes the whole Heidfeld switch pointless doesn’t it.

    All the best to Perez for his dream coming true but I don’t see a future star here or in Maldonado either. I’m starting to wonder if having GP2 as a direct feeder is detrimental, all these youngsters come up and then because they weren’t yet ready for F1 the teams get bored with them and go for the next sponsor-rich youngster. Yet because they did well in GP2 they’re expected to move up straight away. I wish F2 was more relevant to F1 so we could train some more talent there instead of launching these kids into the deep end.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th October 2010, 20:14

      I suppose the problem with the GP2 guys is that
      Most of them get only one year in those cars (although this is starting to slow down a bit). Not sure weather that is enough experience with finding the best setups and consistency.

      Especially while at the same time F1 teams need to take it slow with rookies take almost 2/3 of a season to get up to speed now and almost 2 years to really see what is in them. Therefore teams tend to go it slower with exchanging drivers for new ones without any milage and new spots open up far slower than the feeder series “delivers” fresh drivers.

    • Ocsiri said on 5th October 2010, 18:48

      I think the problem with GP2 young drivers is that you have to be really a out of series driver, and F1 is all about that I think this guy Perez has some chances of becoming a hard driver in the future.
      Also is about sponsorship but let me tell you that pilots like the Fernando Alonso wouldn’t be in Ferrari ifs not thanks to Santander and its money and there are a lot of examples…

      • Shimks said on 6th October 2010, 14:59

        I totally disagree with your Alonso/Santander comment.

        Alonso is one of the absolute top drivers in F1. That’s why he’s in a Ferrari.

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