The team’s financial crisis had been well-documented in recent weeks with Peter Sauber admitting that suppliers had not been paid, and Nico Hulkenberg was rumoured to have not been paid, thus terminating his contract with the team temporarily until investment was found. However, a solution appears to have been found.
The statement from Sauber reads:
“We are pleased to announce a partnership between the Investment Corporation International Fund, the State Fund of Development of North-West Russian Federation and the National Institute of Aviation Technologies with Sauber Motorsport AG, incorporation the promotion of the sport Formula One in Russia and jointly developing high-technological solutions.”
Interest in Russia is quickly rising, with the country’s first grand prix planned for 2014 at Sochi and Vitaly Petrov competed in the sport between 2010 and 2012.
However, a new Russian driver looks set to join the grid in 2014. As part of the deal, 17 year old Sergey Sirotkin has been incorporated into Sauber’s development programme in preparation of a full-time seat next season with the team.
Although this move does secure Sauber’s future, it remains to be seen just how stable this future is with over half of the season still to go ahead of a ‘new era’ at the team in 2014. Sirotkin’s inclusion in the deal may perturb many ‘pay driver’ critics, but the youngster is poised to become the youngest F1 driver ever should he make next year’s grid.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.