Perez: Payment from sponsors never a problem

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Sergio Perez has laughed off rumors suggesting that there have ever been problems with the payments from his backers amid speculation that the Mexican driver is set to be replaced at McLaren for 2014.

Perez joined McLaren at the beginning of the season after a successful two-year spell with Sauber. He retained some of his backing from telecoms giant Telmex whose brand, Claro Video, appears on the rear wing of the team’s MP4-28 car. However, following his confirmation as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement in September of last year, reports suggested that Telmex may have defaulted on their payments. However, the Mexican driver has laughed this off in a recent interview with the official Formula One website.

When asked what the strangest rumor he had read about himself was, Perez said: “There have been so many. Probably the most nutty was that McLaren was not going to sign me because Telmex was not paying on time.”

A similar story has emerged in recent weeks as the team have confirmed they are considering a number of drivers for Perez’s seat in 2014, even if the Mexican driver has produced some good results of late. Youngster Kevin Magnussen is widely though to be his greatest rival for the seat despite his lack of experience, but with the MP4-28 proving to be troublesome for both Perez and teammate Jenson Button, it may be unfair for McLaren to write off the Mexican driver after just one year at Woking.

Perez recently spoke about his excitement for next weekend’s United States Grand Prix, with a large Mexican fanbase expected to attend the race in Austin, Texas.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”