Sauber seeking $30m to make it to Interlagos

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Sauber’s financial struggles have been well documented in the media lately, but it appears that the situation could be more dire than first thought with German publication Spiegel today reporting that the team requires $20m to even finish the season, let alone make it to the grid next year.

Star driver Nico Hulkenberg has reportedly been released from his contract due to Sauber’s failure to maitain payments, having also failed to pay suppliers in the last few weeks. The German driver is now in talks with Lotus, although the nature of any deal is yet to be confirmed.

Spiegel also claims that the team has as many as two dozen creditors waiting for payments, which if true means that the team faces an uphill struggle to make it to the final race at Interlagos in November.

In terms of investment, the options for Sauber appear to be few and far between. Nicolas Todt, son of FIA president Jean, was rumored to be in the running to buy a stake in the Swiss team but he recently ruled out doing so. Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea Football Club Roman Abramovich is thought to be an option, with Chelsea’s crest appearing on the Sauber C32 car as part of a commercial agreement between the two parties.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone spoke out earlier this week over the matter, saying that it would be a shame if Sauber were not on the grid in 2014.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”