Formula Renault 3.5 driver Sergey Sirotkin has joined Sauber as a development driver as the team announced a new collaboration with a Russian research institute.
The 17-year-old will participate in a development programme “to prepare him as a racing driver for the team in 2014” said Sauber in a statement on Monday.
Sauber has also confirmed details of a new partnership with Russia’s National Institute of Aviation Technologies to “open up new perspectives and revenue streams by commercialising jointly developed technologies”. Sirotkin is the son of Oleg Sirotkin who is the director general of NIAT.
“At the same time, the Sauber F1 Team will have a solid foundation to increase its competitiveness on a long-term basis,” it added. Sauber’s financial problems have been widely reported recently.
Two Russian technology development programmes, the Investment Cooperation International Fund and the State Fund of Development of North-West Russian Federation, are also involved in the plan.
“The partnership includes further activities for the promotion of the inaugural Formula One Grand Prix in Sochi in 2014 and attracting the talented young Russian generation towards motorsport,” Sauber added.
Sirotkin finished third in the Auto GP World Series last year. He lies eighth in this year’s Formula Renault 3.5 series with a best finish of second at Motorland Aragon in Spain.
Last year’s Formula Renault 3.5 champion Robin Frijns is also a development driver for Sauber. The team previously announced Frijns and Kimiya Sato will drive for them at the Young Drivers’ Test.
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