Sauber’s survival comes with strings attached

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Sauber have established “a solid foundation to increase its competitiveness on a long-term basis” according to a press release issued by the team on Monday.

The Swiss team’s financial situation has been a subject of intense speculation recently, with senior team figures confirming they had “serious” problems and reports that payments to suppliers had been missed.

Today the team announced a collaboration with Russia’s National Institute of Aviation Technologies, a scientific research institutions, and two investment funds to “showcase Russian innovation at the pinnacle of motorsport”.

Sauber also confirmed it will welcome Russian racer Sergey Sirotkin as a development driver as part of a plan to “attract the talented young Russian generation towards motorsport”. Sirotkin’s father Oleg is the general director of NIAT.

The team raised the possibility of the 17-year-old driving for them as soon as next year: “A development program will be set up for the Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin to prepare him as a racing driver for the team in 2014.”

Sirotkin currently races in the Formula Renault 3.5 series against McLaren development drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Kevin Magnussen, and Red Bull’s Antonio Felix da Costa. Sirotkin managed a best finish of second so far this year and lies eighth in the points standings.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.