Bild am Sonntag newspaper reports that Sauber’s debts still stand at € 80 million, including unpaid bills to suppliers totalling 35 million. They claim that, in addition to Ferrari’s unpaid customer engine bill, Sauber has also not paid for its Pirelli tyres in 2013.
It was already known that lead driver Nico Hulkenberg is waiting for his salary, but Bild am Sonntag now reports that rookie teammate Esteban Gutierrez has also not been paid in 2013.
The report also said that 2012 Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi is also owed about € 2.5 million.
Team owner Peter Sauber denied those reports but admitted that the financial situation was “uncomfortable and embarrassing”.
Team boss Monisha Kaltenborn had previously confirmed: “It’s true, we’re in trouble at the moment, but we will get out of it again, and in any case will still be here at the end of the season.”
However, with a new sponsorship deal, the Swiss team have eased some pressure of their backs. The National Institute of Aviation Technologies, Investment Corporation International Fund, and the State Fund of Development of Northwest Russian Federation, are the three Russian companies reported to have signed on a new Sponsorship deal with the Sauber team, that reportedly also includes a clause for preparing a Russian driver for next season.
This is likely to be 17-year-old Formula Renault 3.5 racer Sergey Sirotkin, the son of Oleg Sirotkin, who head of the National Institute of Aviation Technologies.
"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, incorporating the promotion of the sport Formula 1 in Russia and jointly developing high-technological solutions," said a Sauber statement.
"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 statement further clarified: "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."
Sauber, who first entered the sport as an independent in 1993, have struggled since their last partner BMW decided to pull out of Formula One at the end of 2009. After a surprisingly strong campaign in 2012, they have struggled on track this year, with further development to the current car halted due to lack of funds.
This has already resulted in their lead driver Nico Hulkenberg deciding to not extend his contract with the team for a further season. It is this vacant seat that could go to Sergey.
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