Sergio Perez is no longer a “pay driver”, McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh insists.
Mexican Perez, also backed by Ferrari, started his F1 career by bringing millions in Carlos Slim-linked Telmex dollars to Sauber. But he is now moving to McLaren, amid speculation Telmex might eventually replace the grandee British team’s title sponsor Vodafone.
The Telegraph, however, quotes Whitmarsh as insisting there are no “side deals” to McLaren’s Perez contract.
“I did have a conversation with Carlos Slim yesterday but we have made an offer to Sergio, we are paying him well and there are no side deals,” he said. “I’m not saying that ultimately there won’t be other fresh partners coming forward because of it but that wasn’t the motivating force,” insisted Whitmarsh.
He is quoted by Sky Sports F1 HD channel: “He (Perez) is not a pay driver, he is being paid a lot of money. Sponsorship was not a factor, we picked Sergio because he is the most exciting young talent in formula one.
“Do I believe there will be some exciting commercial opportunities in the future? Yes. Have we looked at them yet? No.”