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DATE News (chronologically)
07/07/13
f1
Rumors swirl around struggling Sauber's future (Update)  UPDATE (GMM)  Sauber could have an all-new driver lineup next year, as rumors of a radical shakeup for the struggling Swiss team gain speed.

Nico Hulkenberg, reportedly not paid by the Hinwil based team since May, has already confirmed at the Nurburgring that boss Monisha Kaltenborn is working to pull Sauber out of a financial crisis.

Nicolas Todt - a GP2 team chief, prominent F1 driver manager and son of FIA president Jean Todt - has been linked with a buyout, as has Chelsea football club's Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

"I've heard the rumors," said Frenchman Todt, "and there's nothing to it."

Nonetheless, the rumors continue to flow.

Bild newspaper said German Hulkenberg has "already made contact" with Lotus, whose Romain Grosjean is underperforming, while Kimi Raikkonen is linked with a high-profile 2014 switch to Red Bull.

Sauber team boss Kaltenborn played down reports Hulkenberg has already terminated his breached contract.

"I will soon announce a new sponsor," she said.

The German-language Bild and Speed Week report that one of Russia's wealthiest men, Boris Rotenberg, is linked with the Sauber rescue.

Rotenberg, who co-owns the SMP bank with his brother, reportedly has close ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

It is believed Carlos Slim's Telmex has ruled out buying Sauber, which - given the Mexican company's expected move to McLaren - could be bad news for 2013 team driver Esteban Gutierrez.

Speed Week correspondent Rob La Salle speculated that Sauber's 2014 lineup could see Russian Vitaly Petrov return to F1, alongside the Todt-managed Felipe Massa or Jules Bianchi.

07/06/13 (GMM)  Having confirmed its financial problems, the rumors about the future of the Swiss team Sauber are now doing the rounds in the Nurburgring paddock.

Amid reports he has not been paid recently, German driver Nico Hulkenberg insists team boss Monisha Kaltenborn is "working on a solution".

"She's assured me that she's busy working on that and there's not much more I can say," he said on Thursday.

Indeed, Kaltenborn was missing in the Nurburgring paddock on Friday, with Speed Week reporting that she hosted a delegation at Hinwil of the Swiss federal government.

Sports minister Ueli Maurer said: "Sauber is the most important high-tech company in Switzerland."

But Speed Week said the Swiss government is not going to bail-out the struggling Sauber.

Cue the next rumor -- Nicolas Todt.

Speed Week said the relationship between team founder Peter Sauber and Todt's father, the FIA president Jean Todt, is longstanding and strong.

Frenchman Nicolas Todt, who manages the careers of Felipe Massa, Pastor Maldonado and Jules Bianchi and operates the GP2 team ART, is often linked with F1 team buyouts.

Sauber is reportedly in talks with the Russian natural gas giant Gazprom about a sponsorship deal, and Speed Week said it is "unclear" if the Todt rumor is related.

The well-connected Swiss newspaper Blick, meanwhile, is reporting another potential Russian link for Sauber -- the apparent interest of the team's football club sponsor Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

Correspondent Roger Benoit said at least some income is guaranteed to flow Sauber's way, having inked a deal for the upcoming Silverstone test with Japanese driver Kimiya Sato.

Benoit said the sponsors of 23-year-old Sato, who is not related to former F1 driver Takuma Sato, are paying EUR 250,000 for his single-day run in the C32 car.

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