Reports suggest that Sauber's new backing has yet to materialise

Report in Germany claims that NIAT board has voted against partnership

By Mike Wise.   Last Updated: 14/08/13 5:25pm

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Sauber: Announced Russian backing in July

Sauber: Announced Russian backing in July

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Sauber's financial woes might not be over just yet, with reports claiming that contracts with three Russian backers have yet to be finalised.

Having admitted that they were strapped for cash earlier in the summer, the Swiss team announced last month that they hoped to forge partnerships with the National Institute of Aviation Technologies, the Investment Cooperation International Fund and the State Fund of Development of North-West Russian Federation.

Speaking at last month's Hungarian GP, Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn said they had a "long-term deal" in place that would promote both Russian technology as well as the sport itself in that country.

According to Kaltenborn, the deal's "three pillars" would include a technological partnership with NIAT while they also sought to promote F1 in Russia in tandem with the planned grand prix in Sochi next year.

The most eye-catching detail was Sauber's wish to run a car for 17-year-old Sergey Sirotkin, whose father heads up NIAT, in 2014.

However, a report in Germany's Bild has now claimed that NIAT's board has voted against its participation.

All three agencies have links to the Russian government, and it has also been reported that President Vladimir Putin has yet to give his consent to the partnerships.

Kaltenborn did not reveal at the Hungaroring whether they had received any payment, adding that progress had not been made beyond the planning stage.

Even so, she insisted that Sauber, who came close to losing their place on the grid after former owner BMW withdrew from the sport in 2009, would weather the storm.

The announcement of the Russian link-up came after reports claiming that drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez had not been paid, together with Sauber's suppliers.

"We've gone through tough times before and we know we can survive. The question is not whether you want to survive, it's whether you want to, at some point in time, make the step ahead," Kaltenborn said.

"We knew that if this deal came through, we'd have the basis in the long term to make our way up again - and that's what's going to happen now.

"We know what we're talking about and we have good reasons to believe in it."

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