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SBD Global/July 11, 2013/Finance

Sauber F1 Team Has To Find Financial Backers In Order To Avoid Extinction

Sauber driver Nico Hülkenberg has been given the freedom to leave his contract.
One of F1’s most historic teams is "facing a countdown to extinction" unless it can find financial backers quickly, according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. Sauber admitted Tuesday that it is "in danger of being cut off by suppliers who have not been paid," while it scours the globe for investors willing to secure its future. Team Founder Peter Sauber revealed that it is living "day to day." Rumors "have bounced around the paddock for weeks that a team were in serious financial difficulties," while there are warnings that more could be dragged down with teams facing a $2B hike in costs over the next seven years. Sauber driver Nico Hülkenberg, signed from Force India, "has been given the freedom to leave his contract amid speculation that he has not been paid." That "could open the way for him to make the move to Ferrari alongside Fernando Alonso if the Scuderia decide to replace Massa, who is on a poor run again." The young German "is also a target for Lotus to replace Räikkönen but could find a home at Red Bull next season in place of Mark Webber." Peter Sauber admitted his "embarrassment" at the team’s financial plight. He said, "For the large part, we are being met with understanding, but it is very stressful for us and in many regards painful" (LONDON TIMES, 7/10). MOTORSPORT reported F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "has ruled out intervening directly to help the embattled Sauber team survive." The 82-year-old said "one solution" for the Hinwil-based team would be to sell up. Ecclestone said, "I don't want to imagine F1 without Sauber. Ideally, they will find new sponsors in the long term, but even companies who are willing to support them in the short term would be fine" (MOTORSPORT, 7/10).
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