Sergey Sirotkin, Sauber, Sochi, 2013

Sauber’s Russian deal delayed by Ukraine situation

2014 F1 season

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Sergey Sirotkin, Sauber, Sochi, 2013Sauber’s planned investment deal involving Russian companies has been thrown into doubt by sanctions imposed on the country following its actions in Crimea.

The European Union and other territories imposed economic and political sanctions on Russian organisations, including banks, after it took over the Ukrainian territory earlier this year.

This has had repercussions for several drivers in junior categories who are backed by Russian companies.

Last year Sauber announced a collaboration with Russia’s National Institute of Aviation Technologies which would bring investment into the team. But during today’s Spanish Grand Prix press conference team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said that was now in jeopardy:

“We’ve definitely seen an effect because a lot of our talks, which are very advanced, have virtually come to a standstill because people are waiting and seeing what’s going to happen and nobody really knows the entire impact it’s going to have.

“The sanctions that have now been imposed here are really biting some of them. So they’re very careful which again leads to that we simply have to wait. And there’s nothing we can do about it. So we really hope that the situation can be clarified soon and all our deals can be sorted out.”

The diplomatic crisis has also raised questions over the viability of the Russian Grand Prix, a new addition to the world championship calendar which is due to be held in Sochi in October.

John Booth, team principal of Russian-backed team Marussia, said the “travel arrangements have been confirmed” for the race – “there’s a charter going direct from Japan to Sochi”.

“As to whether we go to Sochi or not, as with Bahrain over the last couple of years we’ll follow our [British] government guidelines on whether it’s safe to travel or not, or whether we should go or not,” he added.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 31 comments on “Sauber’s Russian deal delayed by Ukraine situation”

    1. I think we can rule out Sochi from this years calender. The way Putin is being demonised constantly in this situation means the powers at be won’t let him have his Grand Prix, they’re still annoyed about his impressive winter Olympics!

      1. I really hope there won’t be Sochi F1 race. It would be so wrong.

        1. Sergei Martyn
          10th May 2014, 9:47

          Pardon me, why?

      2. “impressive winter Olympics”?
        the only impressive thing was the lack of organisation and 4 olympic circles.

        1. Neil (@neilosjames)
          10th May 2014, 7:17

          Dunno, that military choir was pretty impressive.

    2. I wish someone imposed sanctions on USA each time they attacked other nation, but hey, it’s not like these sanctions are imposed on moral grounds or some noble ideologies. It’s just that West is pushing to get Ukraine under its influence, while Russia is pushing to keep Ukraine at least neutral to the Western influence, if not under its own, because it would be highly inconvenient for Russia to have NATO bases popping so close to its borders.

      So pretty much, no one is fighting for the benefit of Ukraine, but I wish they’d all just leave it alone. It might sound crazy to some, but they have a right to their civil war. It’s their country and they should be able to choose their course as a nation, without others interfering. Many nations went through these processes and it’s not that unnatural.

      1. The west is doing a little more than pushing i think you’ll find and i think it’s very clear who benefits (NATO, IMF, MIC etc) and who doesn’t (Ukrainian people). You’re right in saying that they have a right to choose their course without others interfering, unfortunately that is not what is happening.

      2. USA gets away with everything that happens… unless it’s something that affects them.

        In any case, F1 is 90% british, so if they say it’s really, really not safe or they are so against it that Bernie goes back on his decisions to make more money, they won’t go. But I’m really sure they’ll go anyway.

      3. So, if its the Ukrainian’s country, then pray, why do they need russian special forces and “volunteers” to guide their steps, plan their heists and supply them with arms? Not to mention brainwashing everyone listening to Russian language media with proven false information Trotter?

        What I saw (not from English language media but from media in CEE europe who have an easier time reporting because the languages are closer) what you say

        while Russia is pushing to keep Ukraine at least neutral to the Western influence

        is utter nonsense.
        The UA people were mostly concerned about their governments being as corrupt as they were (Yanukovic but also Tymosenka before him, not to mention what came before that). Russia was fine with that, because it made it easier for them to buy support from UA to do as they were told.

        The only western influence seen until then was an offer to have easier trade with the EU, something that is not in any way barring access to Russian markets. And it would push for reforms in the justice system and governance that would bring a step forward to everyone in UA.

        1. Sergei Martyn
          10th May 2014, 11:33

          “The only western influence seen until then was…”:
          Oh yes but have you seen Russian politicians in Ukraine distributing cookies to protesters (Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the US Dept of State), senators and directors of state security (Senator Biden and CIA head John Brennan) regularly visiting Kiev and consulting the illegitimate (by means of Ukrainian constitution, not the private view of Mr. Putin btw). and if you forgot what led to crisis – negotiations led by the European Union mediators and foreign ministers Radosław Sikorski of Poland, Laurent Fabius of France and Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany signed on Feb 21, next day legitimate president had to fled his own country).
          Do you know that the whole floor in SBU (Ukrainian Security Service) buliding has been given to CIA consultants? Etc.
          Ukrainian freedom-loving folks were concerned about corruption and oligarchy? Of course, but then they got Nazis and the Ukrainian presidential candidate who leads the preliminary polls (chocolate king Poroshenko) is one of the richest Ukrainian oligarchs?

          Well, forget it.
          See you in Sochi!

    3. Honestly, this is just dumb. Two weeks back, there was the article about the crisis hampering the careers of Russian drivers. And now this.

      F1 should be above politics, especially politics of this sort where both the Russians and the West are equally at fault for instigating trouble.

      More so, it is funny how the West gets away with zero sanctions when they are the ones who’ve been perpetrating most conflicts around the world for the past 15 years.

      1. I’m glad people can see the hypocrisy. There is too much propaganda from all sides right now.

      2. F1 should be above politics

        It’s futile to pretend you can separate the two. This is just the latest in a litany of examples why.

        Of course the sanctions which have been imposed on certain Russian individuals and financial institutions have not been applied for reasons connected with motor racing. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have consequences for F1 or other forms of motorsport.

        So if you’re a Russian racing driver who was getting money from one of them then you’ve got a problem. And trying to make the impossible case that ‘F1 shouldn’t be political’ won’t solve it.

      3. F1 should be above politics

        Interesting that it should stay away from politics despite being one of the most political sports.

    4. Well. It’s not Ukraine situation. It’s the fact that Russia invaded Ukraine.

      1. It’s not quite as simple as that though is it? They were already in Crimea. But don’t that get in the way of your invasion talk.

        1. I’m living in Ukraine near the border with Russia – and yes, it is as simple as that.
          In past century many didn’t pay their attention on Nazis until it was to late.
          I hope that history teaches world leaders.

          1. I’m not Ukrainian but have few friends from there and agree completely. No matter why there is a crisis in this country. Russia invaded Ukraine. There is no other way of looking at it.

            1. Sergei Martyn
              10th May 2014, 10:33

              Oh folks, c’mon, please read a bit of Crimea history – who invaded whom.

            2. Russia in the only recent issue that actually matters.

        2. You’ll find forces based in all sorts of countries which aren’t their own nation. But if those forces annex the region I think talk of invasion is fair enough.

        3. Yes it is @vodaclone. The fact that Russia had a treaty with UA to allow their troops/fleet to be stationed there does not change anything (surely you would not say that the USA would not have invaded Japan if they took over using units stationed in their military bases in the country?).

          Its just that they first invaded with special troops, and covert operations also using local groups (many neo-nazi, right wing groups among them) to enact their strategy supported by massive propaganda on all Russian language TV stations.

          1. Funny, these right wing groups and neo-nazis are on the Ukrainian side too? So if were comparing eggs with eggs, the Ukrainian Neo Nazis (right sector) have done a whole lot more killing eh? Quite fond of burning people alive trapped in buildings i hear.

    5. I’m surprised to have not read this point made elsewhere. I thought it was something that was quite obvious, in regards to the Sochi race. If Bernie is happy to race in Bahrain, in the middle of simmering tensions that was close to sparking a civil war, then running in Sochi where Russian forces are pushing into another country isn’t exactly a situation too dissimilar. However, it was the team personnel themselves that made their own decisions to go to the Bahrain GP, not Bernie. In this situation its not like Sochi itself is under threat.

      1. I should just point out, its the sanctions placed upon Russia by countries like the US, that may see F1 abandon the Sochi race.

      2. I think the only way that F1 will not go to Sochi, is if western governments (mainly the UK, because most teams are from there) issue a no travel advice for Russia or the Sochi region @dragoll, otherwise, as you mentions, they would have gone to Bahrain even in the first year.

    6. I guess its hard to hold talks with people, when these people themselves are limited in their travels and can’t come to the races or to Switzerland and their money is barred from being accepted by EU, US or swiss banks.

    7. Im astonished about the number of people actually defending russia here! Thet invaded another country fuld stop!! Putin is the greatest threat to european peace that er have seen in a long time. How its posible to defend him is beyond my comprehension…

      1. Sry for the spelling btw. Im on my phone.

        1. No one is defending Russia but you can hardly cheerlead for the new government in Kiev to kill ethnic Russians in their own country as is happening now.

      2. I’m not defending Russia, but rather questioning the fairness of this all. The US launched two full invasions in the past 13 years, and then meddled in the local conflicts of tens of other countries. Why are they not being apprehended, but the Russians are?

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