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SBD Global/July 17, 2013/FranchisesPrint All
The cash-stricken Sauber F1 team "has yet to receive any payments from its three new Russian investors," according to Nicola Pohl of BILD. However, the Switzerland-based team announced that it "has avoided financial collapse for the moment with the acquisition of three Russian investors on Monday." How "clean the deals really are remains to be seen." Swiss public broadcaster SRF correspondent Peter Gysling "has warned of the three investors on the show 'Tagesschau am Mittag.'" Gysling: "All three institutions are real and connected to the government. But there is only limited traceable activity. The so-called National Institute of Aviation Technologies was only involved in the development of non-flammable seats for trolley buses. It also isn't a government research institute, but a private company that ironically belongs to the father of 17-year-old future F1 driver Sergey Sirotkin" (BILD, 7/16).
F1 team Marussia has "agreed a long-term technical partnership with Ferrari" to use its engines and full powertrain from '14, according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. The move "had been widely expected, with Marussia's existing supplier Cosworth set to leave the sport and the team appointing Frenchman Jules Bianchi" -- a Ferrari reserve -- to its race lineup at the start of this year. Marussia said in a statement that the deal provided further confirmation of the team's commitment to F1 and "determination to maintain our progression towards our long-term ambitions" (REUTERS, 7/16). In London, Paul Weaver reported it "will make for an intriguing partnership between the smallest and biggest teams in F1." Marussia CEO Andy Webb said, "The importance of this development to our team cannot be overstated. Not only will we benefit from a customer supply from the most successful engine manufacturer in F1's history but this also provides further confirmation, if it were needed, of our commitment to the sport and determination to maintain our progression towards our long-term ambitions." Marussia will continue its deal with McLaren, which provides aerodynamic facilities, including a wind tunnel (GUARDIAN, 7/16). SKY SPORTS' Mike Wise reported Marussia was "briefly involved in merger talks with rivals Caterham prior to the start of the current season and," in the absence of a new Concorde Agreement, it remains "the only team without a commercial agreement" with F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone (SKY SPORTS, 7/16).
The "trade in the top brains in Formula One has taken a new twist as a desperate Williams team snatched Pat Symonds from their struggling rivals at Marussia," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. It is a tale of two notorious "Gates" -- "Spygate" and "Crashgate" -- as "two of the most controversial figures in the recent history of F1 are shuffled around with Symonds replacing Mike Coughlan." The move "comes at a crucial moment in the season with the teams gathering at Silverstone for the start of a three-day test on Wednesday and the summer break looming." There "is precious little time now for teams to put in place the measures that will carry them through the congested second half of the season, which involves seven inter-continental trips" in the space of just 10 "gruelling weeks." Williams has "moved with a clear sense of urgency" with its position "becoming increasingly perilous." Symonds replaces Coughlan, who has paid with his job as technical director for the team’s "worst start to a season" (LONDON TIMES, 7/16). REUTERS' Alan Baldwin reported Symonds, the former Renault F1 engineering head "was banned from Formula One in 2009 after a Singapore Grand Prix crash scandal." Symonds will start work at the Williams factory on Aug. 19. He has been in F1 for 30 years and "has a formidable reputation as an engineer and strategist," working with the young Ayrton Senna at Toleman in 1984 and then seven-time champion Michael Schumacher at Benetton (REUTERS, 7/16). The BBC's Andrew Benson reported Symonds "was then found guilty," along with Team Principal Flavio Briatore, "of arranging for Nelson Piquet Jr. to deliberately crash" in Singapore in '08 to help teammate Fernando Alonso win. These are "the first of a series of changes planned at Williams in the coming months" (BBC, 7/16).