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Sauber denies Russian deal has collapsed

ESPN Staff
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Sauber insists its rescue deal is still on track © Sutton Images

Sauber has rubbished reports that its rescue deal with Russian partners has hit the rocks, revealing that the first contracted payments have already been made.

Reports in the German media this week claimed the board of one of the new partners, the National Institute of Aviation and Technology (NIAT), had voted against investing in the team, but Sauber clarified that the deal with NIAT is about sharing technology and does not have a financial element. Meanwhile, the team confirmed it has already received payments as part of the deal which is also with the Investment Cooperation International Fund and the State Fund of Development of North-West Russian Federation.

"Contractually guaranteed payments to the team have already been made," a team statement said, adding: "We are surprised how readily some media published falsehoods and rumours into the world."

Part of the deal involves Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin being prepped for a race drive next year and the team said the 17-year-old would start his programme next week at the end of the August shutdown.

At the Hungarian Grand Prix team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said everything was in place: "The very first thing that has already taken place now that we have our contracts in place is that we were very happy and relieved. We are now focusing on starting the implementation of this co-operation because it's a very complex and comprehensive deal."