It has emerged over the past week or so that Saubers fiscal problems were very real indeed, after admitting that it currently was unable to pay its main driver Nico Hulkenberg and certain suppliers. This can spin out of control very quickly for a team as suppliers can withdraw parts and developments which makes the car slower in real terms (as F1 is always moving forward at a blistering rate).
It has taken a Russian firm the National Institute of Aviation Technologies to step in with cash and to develop the business outside of Formula 1. Sauber have been slightly left behind after being the BMW works team until 2009 didn’t develop complementary technology businesses alongside its race team in the way that Williams and McLaren have pioneered to great success. It also means that the owners son Sergy Sirotkin will be joining the team to “prepare him as a racing driver for the team in 2014”. Now at only 17 years old and his first campaign in World Series by Renault going steadily if not brilliantly one would imagine this will not be in a race seat but taking part in testing and simulator work.
It is good news for a team that have really struggled fiscally since the departure of BMW from the sport leaving them to try and find the budget to run a works size team with no other revenue streams. Time will tell if it will be enough with the huge price hike for teams next year with the new expensive “eco” engines and new rules.