Sauber saved by eleventh hour funding from Russian consortium

Peter Sauber always confident his team would survive their crisis

Peter Sauber always confident his team would survive their crisis

Sauber appears to have assured its future in Formula 1 after an eleventh hour investment from a Russian consortium, the announcement was made on Monday amid increasing pressure for the Swiss team to pay mounting debts, with some reports speculating that the Hungarian Grand Prix would be the team’s last race.

For weeks the future of Sauber has been the focus of numerous headlines, many predicting the demise of the team owned by Peter Sauber, which has contested 285 grand prix races as an independent team and 70 more as Sauber BMW.

In a statement released on Monday Sauber announced, “We are pleased to announce a partnership between the Investment Cooperation International Fund, the State Fund of Development of North-West Russian Federation and the National Institute of Aviation Technologies with Sauber Motorsport AG, incorporating the promotion of the sport Formula 1 in Russia and jointly developing high-technological solutions.”

Although no exact details of the investment were forthcoming in the announcement, the indications are that at least the team’s financial woes will be alleviated.

Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg at the Sauber 2013 F1 campaign launch

Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg at the Sauber 2013 F1 campaign launch

The statement alluded to this, “This extensive co-operation will showcase Russian innovation at the pinnacle of motorsport. At the same time, the Sauber F1 Team will have a solid foundation to increase its competitiveness on a long-term basis.”

Other aspects of the agreement include, “the promotion of the inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix in Sochi in 2014.”

Vitaly Petrov was the first and last Russian to line up on a grand prix grid, and part of the partnership will be to develop talented young Russian drivers of which Sergey Sirotkin is the first to benefit from the project.

“Atracting the talented young Russian generation towards motorsport. In particular, a development programme will be set up for the Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin to prepare him as a racing driver for the team in 2014,” the team added in the statement.

The partnership aims to further develop Russian expertise on the technical side, and also avail Sauber access to technical resources in Russia.

Career boost for Sergey Sirotkin

Career boost for Sergey Sirotkin

“With the National Institute of Aviation Technologies, one of the leading scientific research institutions in Russia, the Sauber F1 team will benefit from the advanced know-how of the front-end Russian scientists and engineers. The objective of the partnership is to open up new perspectives and revenue streams by commercialising jointly developed technologies.”

The investment is well timed as Sauber were being besieged by suppliers who have not been paid for some months, including the team’s star driver Nico Hulkenberg.

While recent reports suggested that Ferrari were becoming impatient with money overdue for supplying engines to the Swiss team.

This new partnership is expected to alleviate the financial burden on the team.

Prior to today’s announcement Peter Sauber was always adamant that his team would be in Formula 1 for the long term, “We will not only see out this season to the end, but we will still be in Formula 1 for many years. I am convinced.”

“The situation is serious. It is one of the most difficult situations since I’ve been in motorsport. For many, we’ve been a very good and a very reliable partner for years. Obviously I’m sorry for any supplier who has had to wait for his money. We have not had to lay anyone off yet and have paid wages on time,” added Sauber.

The statement concluded: “Details of the cooperation will be communicated at a later stage.”  (GP247)

BMW Sauber won one grand prix to date when Robert Kubica took victory in the 2008 Canadian GP with teammate Nick Heidfeld second in the race

BMW Sauber won one grand prix to date when Robert Kubica took victory in the 2008 Canadian GP with teammate Nick Heidfeld second in the race

Full Sauber F1 Team statement:

“We are pleased to announce a partnership between the Investment Cooperation International Fund, the State Fund of Development of North-West Russian Federation and the National Institute of Aviation Technologies with Sauber Motorsport AG, incorporating the promotion of the sport Formula 1 in Russia and jointly developing high-technological solutions.

With the National Institute of Aviation Technologies, one of the leading scientific research institutions in Russia, the Sauber F1 team will benefit from the advanced know-how of the front-end Russian scientists and engineers. The objective of the partnership is to open up new perspectives and revenue streams by commercialising jointly developed technologies.

The partnership includes further activities for the promotion of the inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix in Sochi in 2014 and attracting the talented young Russian generation towards motorsport. In particular, a development programme will be set up for the Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin to prepare him as a racing driver for the team in 2014.

This extensive co-operation will showcase Russian innovation at the pinnacle of motorsport. At the same time, the Sauber F1 Team will have a solid foundation to increase its competitiveness on a long-term basis.”

 

  • Torque

    I wonder how long before the Petrov to Sauber talk will start. Oh look it just did.

  • Jack

    Next years Sauber will be named after a MiG fighter jet for sure…

  • mightyK

    Maybe this is a dumb question but, why wouldn’t Marussia F1 have tapped into this Russian consortium long before this?

  • fools

    well I’m glad too! hence the picture of Peter Sauber smiling instead of flicking a cigar.

    :) to editor.

  • Bob Wheeler

    I have seen prostitutes with more dignity than Sauber. Rolling over for the Russian oligarchy and bringing daddy’s son on board is just disgusting! Especially since more talented drivers will lose opportunities that Sergey Sirotkin is having handed to him because his daddy is writing the checks. Want to know how I really feel?