Sauber rescue deal worth $170 million - report (2nd Update) UPDATE #2 (GMM) Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn has clarified reports suggesting the Swiss team has been bought by Russian entities.
Having earlier admitted a sale of the team could not be ruled out, the struggling Hinwil based outfit announced on Monday that it has new Russian partners.
The news was reported as Sauber having been 'rescued' by Russia, but Italy's Autosprint quotes Kaltenborn as insisting: "The team has not been sold."
And Speed Week reports that Sauber's existing structure, with Kaltenborn and founder Peter Sauber at the decision-making helm, is not changing.
The Swiss portal 20 Minuten, however, said the Russian investment in Sauber amounts to a whopping $170 million, clearing the team's debts and paying unhappy suppliers.
"But where is the money coming from?" a correspondent reported in the Aargauer Zeitung newspaper.
Indeed, some reports suggest the entities listed in the Sauber press release are little more than shell organizations, albeit closely linked to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
A source is quoted by the Swiss newspaper Blick: "It doesn't matter where the money comes from. What is important is that it comes."
The Russian correspondent for Swiss broadcaster Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen, however, is concerned.
"This whole story could end up in a dead end," he warned.
Meanwhile, questions are also being asked about Lotus' new co-owners.
Owner Genii recently announced that a consortium called Infinity Racing has bought 35 per cent of the Enstone based team.
But the Sun newspaper now quotes Genii's Gerard Lopez as saying the deal is actually not finalized, although it is "progressing onwards".
07/14/13 The Sauber F1 team "is facing financial collapse with a reported debt of around €90M ($118M)," according to Helmut Uhl of BILD. The Switzerland-based team "is one of several F1 teams with severe financial problems." Team Founder & Co-Owner Peter Sauber said, "Actually, we are out of air. We are moving from branch to branch."
|For Sauber the end appears near unless a rich 'sugar daddy' comes forward|
If the team "does not acquire millions in sponsorships by the end of July, then it has to sell." Just its short-term liabilities from its suppliers are reportedly around €35M ($46M). Sauber: "If the suppliers stop supplying us before the old liabilities are paid off then we won't have the money to continue racing."
The team's last hope seems to be Russian gas producer Gazprom, which is reportedly interested in investing around €30M ($39M) in Sauber. The only requirement is that Russian President Vladimir Putin "has to agree to the deal" by Sunday. BILD07/14/13 Sauber’s financial struggles have been well documented in the media lately, but it appears that the situation could be more dire than first thought with German publication Spiegel today reporting that the team requires $20m to even finish the season, let alone make it to the grid next year.
Star driver Nico Hulkenberg has reportedly been released from his contract due to Sauber’s failure to maintain payments, having also failed to pay suppliers in the last few weeks. The German driver is now in talks with Lotus, although the nature of any deal is yet to be confirmed.
Spiegel also claims that the team has as many as two dozen creditors waiting for payments, which if true means that the team faces an uphill struggle to make it to the final race at Interlagos in November.
In terms of investment, the options for Sauber appear to be few and far between. Nicolas Todt, son of FIA president Jean, was rumored to be in the running to buy a stake in the Swiss team but he recently ruled out doing so. Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea Football Club Roman Abramovich is thought to be an option, with Chelsea’s crest appearing on the Sauber C32 car as part of a commercial agreement between the two parties.