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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