Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim has sparked rumours that he may be set to replace Vodafone as the title sponsor at McLaren for 2014 after one of his companies appeared on the MP4-28 at last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Slim, who owns telecoms giant Telmex, has played a big part in the careers of compatriots Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez, and many thought it strange when the former arrived at McLaren without bringing any backing with him.
However, during the Spanish GP weekend, the team ran with “Claro Video” on its cars. This group is a subsidiary of Telmex, operating as a phone network in Mexico. Claro Video also sponsors Sauber, for whom Perez drove for in 2011 and 2012, and Gutierrez joined the team at the beginning of the season.
This appears to be the first step towards a bigger campaign at McLaren for Slim which could offer him title sponsorship. Vodafone, who currently act as McLaren’s title sponsor, announced at the end of 2012 that they would be withdrawing from Formula One at the end of 2013, forcing the team into finding new funding. Should Slim be willing to invest so heavily in the team, it could remedy the situation. However, McLaren is unlikely to be short of offers when it comes to finding a replacement for Vodafone.
McLaren will announce their title sponsor for 2014 on December 2nd.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.