Sauber has announced new partnerships with three Russian entities and says it will employ Renault 3.5 driver Sergey Sirotkin in 2014.
The Swiss team has been under severe financial pressure in recent months and was in dire need of some new funding.
The three organizations involved are the Investment Cooperation International Fund, the State Fund of Development of North-West Russian Federation and the National Institute of Aviation Technologies.
Teenager Sirotkin finished third in Auto GP last year and currently lies eighth in the Renault 3.5 series. The fact that the team has in effect announced him for next season suggests that Nico Hulkenberg will be released.
A Sauber statement said: “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 objective of the partnership is to open up new perspectives and revenue streams by commercializing jointly developed technologies.
“The partnership includes further activities for the promotion of the inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix in Sochi in 2014 and attracting the talented young Russian generation towards motorsport. In particular, a development program will be set up for the Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin to prepare him as a racing driver for the team in 2014.
“This extensive co-operation will showcase Russian innovation at the pinnacle of motorsport. At the same time, the Sauber F1 Team will have a solid foundation to increase its competitiveness on a long-term basis.”Formula 1