Motor

Sauber gains much-needed backing

Nico Hulkenberg and Sauber are getting some needed help.
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HINWIL, Switzerland (AP)

Formula One team Sauber has eased its financial troubles with new funding from Russia in a deal that includes preparing a Russian driver for next season.

Sauber said Monday that the partnership involves two investment funds and Russia's National Institute of Aviation Technologies.

The fresh backing comes one week after team President Peter Sauber acknowledged in a Swiss television interview that the financial difficulties had become "uncomfortable and embarrassing."

"The Sauber F1 Team will have a solid foundation to increase its competitiveness on a long-term basis," it said in an official statement.

The Russian partnership includes developing driver Sergey Sirotkin "to prepare him as a racing driver for the team in 2014," Sauber said.

Sauber is eighth of 11 teams in the constructors' standings with 2013 drivers Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico. Hulkenberg's eighth-place finish in Malaysia is Sauber's best result.

Russian interest in F1 is also stepped up ahead of the global circuit debuting there next year in Sochi.

"This extensive cooperation will showcase Russian innovation at the pinnacle of motorsport," Sauber said. "With the National Institute of Aviation Technologies ... the Sauber F1 team will benefit from the advanced know-how of the front-end Russian scientists and engineers."

The other partners are connected to state and regional public money.

The Investment Cooperation International Fund "invests in Russian regions and the development and modernization of industrial enterprises," Sauber said.

The State Fund of Development of North-West Russian Federation is a "not-for-profit organization established to finance programs, projects and activities supporting the economic, scientific and cultural heritage."

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