Perez no longer a pay driver insists Whitmarsh 29 September, 2012 Sep.29 (GMM) Mexican driver Sergio Perez is no longer a ‘pay driver’, McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh insists. 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 that 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.” Subbed by AJN. Tweet Related NewsJock Clear leaves Mercedes for FerrariWolff: Prost gave very precise advice on handling Lewis and NicoMercedes ready to compromise to end F1 engine disputeHamilton: I feel like I’ve got another seven years in F1Hamilton wins BBC Sports Personality of the YearRosberg: I learned a lot and know what I have to work onFerrari and Renault set to exploit engine freeze loopholeFormula 1 world surprised by Mercedes dominance in 2014Mercedes seek FP1 role for Wehrlein in 2015Lowe vows to improve Mercedes reliability JodyRenza With the money Mclaren saves on paying Hamilton, they can surely work on their own engines. Sergio is a GREAT investment!