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GP Week : Issue 187
EDITOR: Kate Walker firstname.lastname@example.org MOTOGP EDITOR: Michael Scott F1 NEWS EDITOR Abhishek Takle TECHNICAL EDITOR Paolo Filisetti RACE EDITOR Trent Price CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Leigh O'Gorman BUSINESS EDITOR Caroline Reid PRODUCTION ARTIST Cedric Dufour PHOTOGRAPHy Sutton Motorsport Images www.sutton-images.com Keith Sutton email@example.com: Mark Sutton, Patrik Lundin, Dirk Klynsmith, Daniel Kalisz PUBLISHER Chris Lambden firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHED By: Grand Prix Week Ltd 61 Watling Street, Towcester Northants NN12 6AG United Kingdom ADVERTISING: n Richard Partridge email@example.com Ph: + 44 1273 232 566 Mob: + 44 7771 567 644 n Mark Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org n se Asia, Australasia GPWEEK (Australia) email@example.com .com WEEK A group of three Russian companies has thrown sauber a financial lifeline as part of a deal that is likely to lead to the Hinwil team giving Russian driver sergey sirotkin his Formula One debut in 2014. The Investment Cooperation International Fund, the State Fund of Development of North-West Russian Federation, and the National Institute of Aviation Technologies have agreed terms with the Swiss racers that will see both technological collaboration and the active promotion of the Russian Grand Prix. But the fact that the three Russian companies involved in the deal are all based in and around St Petersburg – birthplace of Russian president Vladimir Putin – has added fuel to the long- standing rumours that after a Sochi debut, the Russian race will be relocated to the former Imperial capital, Putin’s preferred location. “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 official statement read. The stated aim of the technical collaboration is to open up new streams of revenue by commercializing jointly developed technologies, the statement adds, similar to the work Williams is doing with its KERS technology and the cooperation between McLaren and GlaxoSmithKline. The Russian backing comes at a crucial time for Sauber who are one of the sport’s seven teams known to be in a precarious financial position as a result of the high cost of competing in Formula One at a time when sponsorship for teams is hard to find. Over the past month both team principal Monisha Kaltenborn and team founder Peter Sauber have been forced to comment on the team’s financial woes, thanks to rumours that have ranged from the late payment of suppliers – confirmed by the team – to non-payment of employees, which has been vehemently denied. The team has released Nico Hulkenberg from any contractual obligations for 2014, and it is most likely his seat that Sirotkin will slot into next year should the team find their hand forced by their new partners. The 18-year-old Russian racer is thought by many to be ill-prepared for a 2014 F1 debut, but the most credible voice of dissent comes from Igor Salaquarda, Sirotkin’s team boss in Formula Renault 3.5 . “All this hype is not good for him,” Salaquarda said. “That's way too much pressure – he’s only 17. He is definitely too young [for F1]. I don’t mean that he can’t do it physically – anyone can drive a Formula One car today. It’s much harder to cope with the enormous pressure of the world championship. “Sergey has only driven in Formula Abarth and Auto GP and Italian F3, but in both those series he had little serious competition. As such, he was fast. But if anyone is expecting him to win here right now, it's simply too much to ask. Already in the Eurocup 2.0 there is a great deal of competition, same as the [European] F3 championship, but Sergey skipped both those steps. He should spend more time in the 3.5 litre class to gain more experience.” Sirotkin currently lies eighth in the FR3.5 driver standings, and is thought by many to be better suited to a reserve or development driver role that would allow the young Russian to hone his racecraft before being subjected to the high-pressure environment that is Formula One. SAUBER'S LIFELINE – WITH STRINGS F1 >>> nEWs 7 GPWEEK.com // 7 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: