Sauber completes F1 2011 driver line-up

Sauber confirms the name of the driver who will partner Kamui Kobayashi for the 2011 F1 season
Peter Sauber (SUI), BMW Sauber F1 Team, Team Advisor
Peter Sauber (SUI), BMW Sauber F1 Team, Team Advisor

Sauber has confirmed its driver line-up for the 2011 F1 season - and it doesn't make welcome reading for Nick Heidfeld after he made his return to the team in Singapore.

Heidfeld rejoined the team for the final five races of the season and was hotly linked with a deal to partner Kamui Kobayashi for next year as a result.

However, the experienced German has instead been overlooked for the vacancy after the team revealed that it has agreed a deal that will see GP2 runner-up Sergio Perez graduate to F1 for 2011.

The 20-year-old, who holds the record as the youngest winner of a GP2 race, finished second behind Pastor Maldonado this season but will now become the first Mexican driver on the F1 grid for some 20 years when he makes his debut next season.

"Formula 1 is the dream of every young racing driver," he said. "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."

As well as confirming the signing of Perez alongside Kobayashi, Sauber has also confirmed a new partnership with Telmex, which will see the logo of the telecommunications giant appear on the Sauber cars next season.

Telmex has previously backed Perez in both British Formula 3 and GP2 and has been linked to a move into F1 for some time - most notably when owner Carlos Slim was linked with a buyout of the Honda team prior to it being rescued by Ross Brawn.

"Sauber has been not only a very successful racing team but also a strong talent developer of some of the most recognised names in racing since their early stages as well as one of the most respected people in the sport," Telmex chairman Carlos Slim Domit said. "Their decision of having Sergio with them is very significant on his career to become a top driver representing Mexico.

"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 for having a Mexican driver in F1 with Sauber Motorsport."

With his driver line-up for the new season now confirmed, team boss Peter Sauber said he was confident that both Perez and Kobayashi will impress during the new season.

"Sergio has been on a continuous upward curve over the past few years," he said. "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 driver pairing."

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