Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 10 No. 23


The announced investment in the Sauber F1 Team by three Russian partners remains wrapped in a mystery as two investors would not provide any specifics regarding their involvement, while collaboration with the third company, the National Institute of Aviation Technologies, is going to be just “a technical partnership,” according to the team. In addition to NIAT, the Russian investors are government-backed investment funds the Investment Cooperation Int'l Fund and the State Fund of Development of North-West Russian Federation. Last month, Sauber issued a statement saying that the collaboration with Russian partners “is progressing well” and that “initial payments to the team have already been made, as per contract.” However, Sauber would not provide any specifics as to what company provided the “initial payments” and what the size of it was in response to a request from SBD Global. Similarly, the F1 team gave only vague responses to a request to clarify the nature of “a purely technical partnership” with NIAT, also mentioned in the statement. Sauber spokesperson Hanspeter Brack said, “Together we have identified many areas where we can cooperate for the benefit of both sides. We are now looking into this, and we will communicate details in due course.”

IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT: Incidentally, NIAT’s head, Oleg Sirotkin, is the father of aspiring F1 driver Sergei Sirotkin, a promising young Russian driver recently signed by Sauber for next season. When contacted, Sirotkin Sr. refused to comment. The two investment funds did not respond to SBD Global’s requests for comment. Both investment funds are known for work on projects bankrolled by the Russian government. However, Russia’s sports ministry has repeatedly said it had no intention of pumping state cash into F1, which should be funded by the private sector. Russia’s inaugural F1 race is scheduled to be held next year in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, which also hosts the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Vladimir Kozlov is a writer in Moscow.

F1 team Scuderia Ferrari "has increased its protection against cyber attacks ahead of Sunday's Italian Grand Prix," according to Uhl & Schneider of BILD. Ferrari sponsor anti-virus software company Kaspersky Lab Founder Eugen Kaspersky said, "Our new five-year deal includes a special security program. It was developed in six months and has been installed in 4,000 computers now. It will be installed in additional devices during the next year so that Ferrari is completely covered." The 47-year-old Russian knows that "the fight against hackers is a race against time." Since the NSA scandal was made public by Edward Snowden "it has become clear -- nobody is safe from wiretapping and hacking." Kaspersky: "We are in the midst of a cyber war in which the attacks become more severe and viruses more aggressive than ever before. Computers are in general vulnerable, no matter where they are located, in F1 cars, team facilities or at private homes" (BILD, 9/4).

A group led by former Exec Chair Ernst-Otto Rieckhoff "has presented a reform concept for Bundesliga club Hamburg SV," according to the DPA. The so-called "HSVPlus" concept, which was presented earlier this week, "has brought back the belief in a better future at the North German club." Former German int'l and TV pundit Günter Netzer supports the HSVPlus concept and said, "The current structures of the HSV don't fit the modern football business. The outrageous statute and the quality of the board prevent necessary decisions. Therefore, I'm welcoming the concept of Mr. Rieckhoff." The reform concept "proposes several structural changes at the club." The football department "is supposed to be separated from the main club and turned into a public holding company and the board reduced from 11 to six members." In addition, investors such as billionaire Klaus-Michael Kühne "will have the opportunity to contribute." The most important change at the proposed HSV Football PLC would be the possibility for external investors to purchase up to a 24.9% stake in the club (DPA, 9/5).

The withdrawal of Indian football franchise Mumbai Tigers from the I-League "after being granted a direct entry has raised suspicion that they are now interested in the new tournament proposed to be held early next year by the All India Football Federation's marketing partners, IMG-Reliance," according to Marcus Mergulhao of the TIMES OF INDIA. Mumbai Tigers' "decision to withdraw, curiously, came on Tuesday, a day after IMG-R had written to I-League clubs to discuss whether they are interested in bidding for teams and providing players for the new competition." The Mumbai Tigers are "owned by the Dubai-based Dodsal Group." Mumbai Tigers officials "have remained unavailable to explain why they opted out of India's premier football competition, just two months after bending over backwards to secure a direct spot in the same competition" (TIMES OF INDIA, 9/6).

The group seeking to gain entry to the Scottish League 1 Rangers board denies agreeing to a "vote of confidence" in the current regime, according to the BBC. Rangers confirmed on Wednesday that "they would consider a request to add" former Chair John McClelland and three others to their board of directors. The club added that the "requisitioners" were not seeking to remove any of the current directors. However, the group "has now stated that shareholders deserve the right to vote on the re-election of any director." In a statement issued to the Stock Exchange on Wednesday, the club said, "The board considers that any decision on any proposal for the withdrawal of the requisition would be subject to the provision by the requisitioners of a vote of confidence and continued support for the current directors and to all necessary regulatory approvals." But the rival group has now issued a response that read, "However we have also made it clear that, in accordance with the club's articles of association, all directors, both existing and new, have to offer themselves up for re-election at a vote at the AGM" (BBC, 9/5). STV reported it comes as the board "tries to avoid a general meeting that the disgruntled group called for in an attempt to remove" current CEO Craig Mather, Finance Dir Brian Stockbridge and Dir Bryan Smart. Rangers claim that the general meeting "would cost Rangers needless expense in the run-up to its first annual general meeting that is expected to take place in October" (STV, 9/5).