Date: 15th August 2013 at 8:41am
Written by:

Sauber Formula One moved quickly yesterday to deny claims that their Russian sponsorship deals had collapsed.

It has been widely reported that Sauber are said to be struggling financially, with reports claiming that drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez have been owed wages, whilst various team suppliers have also been owed money.

Then last month, ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, reports emerged that the team had been saved from possible financial ruin thanks to a deal with three Russian companies.

The Russian based Investment Co-operation International Fund, the State Fund of Development of North-West Russian Federation and the National Institute of Aviation Technologies [NIAT] were all reported to have signed deals with the team.

As well as being a financial deal the Sauber F1 team were also set to ‘benefit from the advanced know-how of the front-end Russian scientists and engineers’ with the objective of the partnership ‘to open up new perspectives and revenue streams by commercialising jointly developed technologies’ according to the Sauber statement released at the time.

But on Tuesday it was reported that the deal had hit the rocks with Germany’s Bild reporting that the NIAT board had voted against the deal.

Whilst all three companies who have strong ties to the Russian government have also failed to receive consent from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

These reports were then swiftly denied on Wednesday by a Sauber team statement.

The team confirmed that money from the deals had already been received by the team, whilst 17-year-old Formula Renault 3.5 driver Sergey Sirotkin was still set to join the team as part of the deal.

The team statement as quoted by Sky Sports read: ‘The collaboration with Russian partners, as announced by us, is progressing well. The contract with driver Sergey Sirotkin is in place. Preparations for his involvement in the team, as likewise announced, will start next week following the end of the customary holiday period in the sector,

‘Beyond this, initial payments to the team have already been made, as per contract.

‘A financial involvement on the part of NIAT was never mooted. The plan envisaged a purely technical partnership.

‘We are astounded at the heedlessness with which some media are prepared to spread false reports and rumours.’