Felipe Nasr says he hopes his run to the top five on his Formula 1 debut will help dispel what he says are incorrect assumptions he is a mere 'pay driver' for Sauber.

The GP2 graduate became the first Brazilian driver to debut inside the top five of an F1 race with a strong run for Sauber in the Australian Grand Prix, in turn scoring the team's first points since 2013.

Indeed, Nasr hopes his performance will dismiss suggestions that the money he has brought to the Sauber through sponsors, most notably Banco Do Brasil, is not the sole reason why he was snapped up by the Swiss team.

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"This is a good answer [to the pay driver claims]," he said. "That is all I work for, to put the results on track. I am not a guy that gives excuses. I don't know where this pay-driver call came from because I have always had people investing in my career from the beginning. I never had to put any family money on my career, my family have never had the money to do it."

Nasr went further, saying he would rather bring a number of personal sponsors to a team, rather than rely on a driver programme like Red Bull - which he was considered for - to make decisions for him and potentially drop him with no other backing.

"What is the problem with having a sponsor on my car? What is the difference being supported by Red Bull and they will pay for your drive than having a sponsor that wants to be with you. I prefer to have many sponsors that want to be with than to be stuck with only one, so I am happy to work with all the companies, especially Brazilian companies.

"When I was 16 or 17, I already had a salary, so I don't see where people get this impression I am a pay driver."

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hmm .. alonso got payed how much from mcl or ferrari a year?
please tell me the numbers ..

but also tell me how much santander was paying to be allowed to follow fernando ..... and get some of their stickers on that cars .. ??

is ferdi a paydriver?
.. i you take the balance .. YES!!

greetings...