The Sauber Formula One team has announced a partnership with three Russian institutions, as speculation continues about its long-term financial status.The Swiss team, which has been in Formula One since 1993, has agreed a partnership with the Investment Corporation International Fund, the State Fund of Development of North West Russian Federation and the National Institute of Aviation Technologies (NIAT).A Sauber team statement confirmed that the agreements would largely involve the joint promotion of Formula One in Russia, which will host a Grand Prix for the first time next year, and to develop high-technology solutions. The statement added: 'The objective of the partnership is to open up new perspectives and revenue streams by commercialising jointly developed technologies'.The statement continued: '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'.
As part of the agreement a development programme will be created specifically for the Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin, a 17-year-old from Moscow, 'to prepare him as a racing driver for the team in 2014'. Sirotkin's father, Oleg, is listed as a director of (NIAT).The finances underpinning the agreements were not revealed, so it remains unclear whether the ownership of the team has changed hands. It is likely, however, that the team will have access to some much-needed funding.In recent weeks the team has been open about the necessity of securing long-term funding, with the admission that several suppliers had not been paid on time.The Investment Cooperation International Fund (ICIF) was set up by the president, the chamber of commerce and industry and the ministry of regional development of the Russian Federation and exists to help develop technology programmes, as well as investing in Russian regions and industry.The State Fund of Development of North-West Russian Federation is a not-for-profit organisation which helps finance 'projects and activities supporting the economic, scientific and cultural heritage'. The National Institute of Aviation Technologies, meanwhile, is one of the leading scientific institutes in Russia.Now one of the oldest teams on the Formula One grid, Sauber has participated in every Formula One season since 1993. The team, run by Peter Sauber and latterly Monisha Kaltenborn, finished a competitive sixth in last year's world championship with 126 points but have not maintained that form in 2013. After nine races this year the team lies eighth in the constructors' championship, with just seven points.