17-year-old Sergey Sirotkin is set to make his first visit to Sauber’s headquarters as the young Russian prepares to step up to Formula One next season with the Swiss team.
Sauber had been suffering from some financial difficulties earlier on this season, with rumors suggesting that suppliers and team personnel had not been paid. However, a rescue package was secured with three Russian companies involved, but one of the stipulations was that Sirotkin is to race for the team next season. This sparked outcry from critics of pay drivers, given that Sirotkin has never completed a single lap in an F1 car before and is currently lying 9th in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship.
However, the deal is rumored to be dependent on Sirotkin gaining the seat, putting extra pressure on Sauber to give him enough track time to secure a superlicense ahead of the 2014 season. As part of his preparation, the young Russian will visit Sauber’s headquarters next week, as confirmed by his management.
“During the visit scheduled for August 20-22, Sergey will get acquainted with the team’s personnel, its technical equipment and F1 car,” the statement reads.
Sirotkin’s manager also tweeted about the visit earlier this week.
Now, it remains to be seen just whether or not Sirotkin becomes the youngest F1 driver of all time next season.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.