Sauber has hit back at reports that its rescue deal, by a consortium of Russian business and government concerns, has collapsed.
German-language reports have said that the release of millions in crucial backing for the almost insolvent Swiss team had been voted down this week by Russia’s National Institute of Aviation Technologies (NIAT).
And the DPA news agency even quoted NIAT chief Oleg Sirotkin, whose son Sergey is scheduled to race for Sauber in 2014, as saying the entity cannot afford to fund a Formula 1 team.
But in a statement to German-language media outlets, Sauber hit back by insisting that NIAT’s “contribution” to the Russian rescue deal was “never intended” to be “financial”.
Sauber explained that NIAT’s contribution is, instead, “a technical cooperation”.
“We are surprised how readily some media put rumours and false reports into the world,” the Swiss team added.
Sauber said a contract with 17-year-old Sergey Sirotkin for 2014 remains on track, and that a media statement outlining his preparation for the seat will be released as soon as the August shutdown period is over.
As for suggestions that not a single Russian ruble has flowed to the team amid the increasing impatience of unpaid suppliers like Ferrari and Pirelli, Sauber insisted: “The first contractually-guaranteed payments have already been made”.
Sauber released this (apparently) exclusive statement to a website:
“Our announced co-operation with Russian partners is on a solid footing.”
“The contract with driver Sergey Sirotkin is active, and he will commence preparations next week – after Formula 1’s obligatory holidays.
“In addition contracted payments to the team have already been made.
“A financial contribution from NIAT (National Institute for Aviation and Technology) was never planned – a technical cooperation forms the basis of our contract with NIAT, and this is ongoing.
“We are bewildered by the ease with which various media have published falsehoods and rumours.” (GMM.)
Subbed by AJN.