Sauber has hit back at reports its Russian rescue deal has collapsed.
German-language reports had said the release of millions in crucial backing for the almost insolvent Swiss team had been voted down this week by Russia’s National Institute of Aviation Technologies (NIAT).
And the DPA news agency even quoted NIAT chief Oleg Sirotkin, whose son Sergey is scheduled to race for Sauber in 2014, as saying the entity cannot afford to fund a formula one team.
But in a statement to German-language media outlets, Sauber hit back by insisting that NIAT’s “contribution” to the Russian rescue deal was “never intended” to be “financial”.
Sauber explained that NIAT’s contribution is, instead, “a technical cooperation”.
“We are surprised how readily some media put rumours and false reports into the world,” the Swiss team added.
Sauber said a contract with 17-year-old Sergey Sirotkin for 2014 remains on track, and that a media statement outlining his preparation for the seat will be released as soon as the August shutdown period is over.
As for suggestions not a single Russian ruble has flowed to the team amid the increasing impatience of unpaid suppliers like Ferrari and Pirelli, Sauber insisted: “The first contractually-guaranteed payments have already been made”.