July 15 (Reuters) - Financially struggling Sauber announced a partnership with three Russian entities on Monday that will lead to teenage Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin joining the Formula One team next season.
Sauber said in a statement that it was linking up with the Investment Cooperation International Fund, the State Fund of Development of the North-West Russian federation and the National Institute of Aviation Technologies.
“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,” it added.
”In particular, a development programme will be set up for the Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin to prepare him as a racing driver for the team in 2014.
“This extensive co-operation will showcase Russian innovation at the pinnacle of motorsport. At the same time, the Sauber F1 Team will have a solid foundation to increase its competitiveness on a long-term basis,” it added.
The 17-year-old Sirotkin is currently competing in the Formula Renault 3.5 series.
Sauber’s current race drivers are experienced German Nico Hulkenberg, who is expected to move on, and Mexican Esteban Gutierrez.
The Swiss-based team have been seeking a new partner to get them out of a financial hole, with founder Peter Sauber recognising delays in paying some suppliers.
“The situation is serious. It is one of the most difficult situations since I’ve been in motorsport,” he told Blick newspaper at the weekend.
Sauber said details of the cooperation would be communicated at a later stage. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by John O‘Brien)