Sirotkin joins Sauber as team develops Russian link

2013 F1 season

Sergey SirotkinFormula 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.

2013 F1 season


Browse all 2013 F1 season articles

Image ?? Renault/DPPI

Advert | Go Ad-free

95 comments on Sirotkin joins Sauber as team develops Russian link

  1. Hairs (@hairs) said on 15th July 2013, 9:05

    It sucks to be Vitaly Petrov right now.

    • Bounzze (@bounzze) said on 15th July 2013, 9:07

      It sucks to be Robin Frijns right now.
      He’s never getting in that Sauber seat, is he?

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 15th July 2013, 9:11

        maybe if Hulkenberg moves to another team during the season @bounzze?

        • Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 15th July 2013, 9:30

          Sauber has always been good spotting talent, as was Eddie Jordan. I think the kid is a bit young, but let’s
          give it a try.

        • Bounzze (@bounzze) said on 15th July 2013, 9:32

          Possibly, @bascb, but with cashflow problems like these I’m sure they can get a paying driver to fill a seat.
          It’s not like Frijns is able to bring the big bucks to ensure a seat.

          • Nick (@npf1) said on 15th July 2013, 9:51

            Frijns should have had a major sponsor backing him by now, but I suspect both him and his manager (rather, management group) haven’t been able to sell themselves properly.

            It’s not like Dutch companies have a long standing tradition sponsoring motorsports, but Dutch drivers used to be able to find small sponsors as well and some of the companies that have sponsored Verstappen, Albers and Doornbos (in and outside of F1) have grown despite the crisis.

            In a double interview with Jos Verstappen earlier this year, Frijns explained his management situation to Jos, who promptly replied that Frijns should get a personal manager, whose only concern is Frijns. Rothengatter might have screwed up a deal or two on Verstappen’s behalf, but he did bring in sponsors to Verstappen’s teams and kept him in F1 after a rather eventful debut season.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th July 2013, 10:00

            Frijns’ best bet would be to develp closer ties with Franz Hilmer, who runs Hilmer Motorsport and owns Formtech, a supplier to several Formula 1 teams. It’s not entirely clear as to what Formtech supplies, but Hilmer clearly has relationships within the sport that might open doors for Frijns.

            The investment from the Russians is obviously extensive, so it may just mean that Hilmer and/or any of the team’s existing sponsors might be able to get Frijns into the seat at a lower price.

          • Nick (@npf1) said on 15th July 2013, 10:02

            I should note that Shell and Unilever are in F1, which are 2 of our largest companies. Shell and Unilever have international Boards, though, so it is unlikely we’ll see them pulling through for Frijns. Akzo Nobel supplies McLaren with their paint, but are not interested in sponsorship as far as I’m aware.

            Philips ended its F1 sponsorship, rather than Williams’ back in 2010, so they are unlikely to return. However, there are still a ton of smaller companies who have sponsored our drivers internationally before, in FIA GT, CART, Dakar.. I would have imagined Jumbo would be a candidate, since their founder has even competed in Dakar

    • Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty) said on 15th July 2013, 17:36

      It must suck to be Kamui Kobayashi as well. He was prepared to bring in a few million quid to the team this year, but they said no and chose to pay Hulkenberg likely a few million quid. Swap that around, and they wouldn’t need to take ‘a Russian bail out’, although it sounds like some funding must have disappeared to leave them in such a position. Gazprom deal falling through? Or Telmex upping sticks and leaving to McLaren? I think Gutierrez was always going to impress in his second year, not the first, or maybe in the second half of the first at the earliest. Similarly, I think Chilton will impress in his second or even third year in F1. Sirotkin seems to be quite a fast adapter, from the record that’s been given, so may see the 2014 changes as a chance to jump in on a level playing field and hope to be up to speed maybe as fast as the current field. If Gazprom opened the door for Sirotkin indirectly, along with Chelsea setting it up, that’s Bernie Ecclestone like negotiation skills from Russia. A conspiracy theory though of course, lol.

      If Frijns can get some backing to join the team, you have got to feel he could get a race seat as well, unless Gutierrez can stick around for 2014. Now’s the time, Robin! Use your resources, it’s now or never. Or go find some sponsors! Sounds like the younger Sato wants to get involved as well, and when Honda come back into F1, who knows if they want a driver again to go with an engine deal. So perhaps 2015/16?

      • Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 15th July 2013, 18:30

        If Gazprom opened the door for Sirotkin indirectly, along with Chelsea setting it up, that’s Bernie Ecclestone like negotiation skills from Russia.

        @fastiesty – what was that movie where the British gangsters think they can boss around the Russian oligarch property developers? That would happen to Peter Sauber and Bernie if they tried to outsmart the Russians. You watch – Vladimir Putin will end-up controlling F1 before all this is over!

        • Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty) said on 17th July 2013, 19:59

          Haha I have to agree, people you don’t want to mess with… I hope it’s not a red pill/blue pill moment for Sauber going forwards. British gangster movie – it might have Jason Statham in it??? :p

  2. Fixy (@fixy) said on 15th July 2013, 9:11

    He is very young and finished 3rd in Auto GP last year, despite achieving mixed results this year in FR3.5, so I don’t want to say this, but I fear Sauber is heading towards pay drivers. Of course if it needs money it must do so to secure a future, but Sauber more than others has always been, for me at least, the small, private team who brought great talent to F1, and it’d be a shame if it couldn’t continue doing so.
    Moreover, is Sirotkin also linked to that Russian research institute? And what does “prepare him as a racing driver for the team in 2014″ mean? Surely not an F1 début, right?

    • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 15th July 2013, 9:47

      @fixy Please do not comment on Sirotkin’s talent as you clearly have no idea about junior formulae. In his first full season, he beat more experienced driver Patric Niederhauser in the Formula Abarth European Series. Then he made the huge jump to Auto GP, a much more powerful series in every way. He finished a close 3rd with Euronova. Also last year, alongwith his Auto GP commitments, he finished fifth in the Italian Formula Three championship. This year, he has been regularly beating more experienced ISR teammate Christopher Zanella and would have had more points with a bit more luck. Please don’t call him a pay driver, in my mind, he’s probably the most talented Russkie out there, alongwith Kvyat..

      Here’s a link

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 15th July 2013, 10:11

        Thanks for filling in some details on sirotkin @wsrgo! Although you tone of comment could have been a tad more welcoming, the substance of it made up for that :-)

        • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 15th July 2013, 10:21

          @bascb I’m sorry, I just lose my temper sometimes when I see people making presumptions about things they aren’t sure of themselves..

          • Fixy (@fixy) said on 15th July 2013, 11:15

            @wsrgo

            I don’t want to say this, but I fear Sauber is heading towards pay drivers

            I don’t want to say this, because this is a case where the talent is there. I said it because Sauber took him up only because they were looking for money. If they had wanted to take him only because of his talent, they would’ve done so earlier or in the future, but not together with a sponsorship agreement. As long as this is the level of pay drivers Sauber get, I won’t complain a lot, although I’d rather they had more autonomy in their decisions.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th July 2013, 10:08

      He is very young and finished 3rd in Auto GP last year,

      AutoGP isn’t a major category, but it’s a diamond in the rough for drivers like Sirotkin: they can use the series to develop their skills in powerful open-wheel cars away from the spotlight. There’s less pressure on the drivers, so tey can sail under the radar for a bit.

      despite achieving mixed results this year in FR3.5, so I don’t want to say this, but I fear Sauber is heading towards pay drivers.

      Sirotkin is racing with ISR this year, and they’re not the greatest team in the world. They’re competent, but he’s had some bad luck at times, particularly in qualifying, and it’s cost him some good results.

    • Sergey Martyn said on 15th July 2013, 17:36

      Fixy (@fixy): Moreover, is Sirotkin also linked to that Russian research institute?

      Bull’s eye, Fixy!
      His father is the Oleg S. Sirotkin – Director General of…
      guess what?

      National Institute of Aviation Technologies
      http://www.niat.ru/design/page_eng.php?id=2

  3. BasCB (@bascb) said on 15th July 2013, 9:14

    Hm, pretty close to what we mentioned in the Roundup – a 3rd driver supported by some backers. Would be surprised to learn that alone brings 20 million, but there you go!

    I remember how some people argued that its a bit much to claim that all but the top 4 teams are pretty tight for their money and all too close to serious troubles.
    This shows how its bad that the rich teams dominate discussions about testing, development restrictions etc, as they themselves will not feel the pain of not having money for them but would feel the pain of a budget cap or the resource restrictions agreed.

  4. JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 15th July 2013, 9:14

    I feel sorry for Robin Frijns here. Now that Sauber have a young development driver with bags of money, surely there’s no place for him in their future driver line-up?

    Still, can’t blame Sauber for this. If it keeps them in F1 then that’s the most important thing. And Sirtokin isn’t the worst driver in the world, either.

    According to Autosport he may be pushed into a race seat as early as next year. That would make him the youngest ever driver by quite some margin.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th July 2013, 9:18

      What’s stopping them from taking on Sirotkin and Frijns?

      After all, rumours abound of Hulkenberg leaving the team, and now that they have money from Russia, they don’t need the money from Mexico and could so reasonably afford to show Gutierrez the door.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 16th July 2013, 10:10

        I spot a mistake in that comment @prisoner-monkeys – the team very much likes to keep Hulkenberg, but he has handed in his resignation after not being payed for 2 months to be free to agree with any other team if the chance comes.

        So if they now have money again, surely the first thing to do is secure Nico first until the end of the year and probably for a bit longer too! If Sirotkin really has to drive already next year – I think thats pushing a bit too much – then Frijns can be the 3rd driver next year and take over from Hulkenberg in time.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th July 2013, 10:23

          @bascb – Unless he is, as has always been speculated, looking to use Sauber as a springboard into a larger team like Ferrari. Sauber was about roughly as Force India last year, with the drivers being the deciding factor in who came out on top. So moving to Sauber was always seen as a sideways move for Hulkenberg, rather than a step up. It was believed that he was looking to build a closer relationship with Ferrari by joining their customer team. With Massa under-performing, hulkenberg would be the clearest candidate to join Ferrari.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th July 2013, 9:13

            Sure, Hulk might want to look onward, but that does not mean that Sauber would not want to keep them too, provided they have the money to do so, @prisoner-monkeys.

            If he does go to Ferrari (didn’t I see an interview yesterday or so where Dominicali mentioned they were likely to stay with the same drivers next year?), then off course they can do whatever they see fit with the second driver seat as trying to keep Hulk would be impossible.

    • Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 15th July 2013, 9:25

      He’s not old enough to drive a car in Ca. much less buy a beer.

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 15th July 2013, 17:01

      I feel sorry for Robin Frijns here. Now that Sauber have a young development driver with bags of money, surely there’s no place for him in their future driver line-up?

      @jackysteeg This might not be bad news for Frijns, maybe Carlos Slim will change all of his sponsorship to McLaren next year and they’ll have no obligation to keep Gutiérrez. That would also explain why they were so desperate to get new sponsors.

      • JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 15th July 2013, 18:16

        @mantresx You’re probably right about Mr Slim, although I feel it would be a terrible shame to see Gutierrez lose his seat. I’ve followed him since his Formula BMW days in the late 2000s and he clearly has heaps of potential, but it’s all been ruined by him being rushed into an F1 drive too soon. If he were still in GP2 he’d be walking this years championship.

        Still, if Esteban lost his place I can’t imagine Frijns getting the nod, sadly. He’s a rookie, which would make a pairing with Sirotkin tremendously risky, particularly when he’s not bringing money to make the decision justifiable.

        In addition, there are plenty of other good drivers out there who do bring lots of money. Why employ someone like Frijns when there are other similarly talented drivers (Felipe Nasr, for instance) with money? I think Sauber would be unwise to assume that this new investment is a surefire solution to their financial woes, so if I were Monisha, I’d bring in two paying drivers. Painful to say that, but that’s the world we live in right now.

  5. BasCB (@bascb) said on 15th July 2013, 9:22

    Hm, I remember how it was mentioned that Sauber was one of the teams that might think about switching to Honda in the future, but at the time it seemed unlikely that they would cut the ties with Ferrari after all the years.

    But if they just do not have the money, will Ferrari want to keep them to their contract, or would it be better for them to just cut their losses and lose one customer? Seeing young Sato at Sauber does hint to such a scenario possibly being on the cards in the future.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 15th July 2013, 9:27

      @bascb I don’t think this Sato has any Honda ties, though. And Ferrari will want to have as many teams run their new engines as possible for competitiveness/R&D purposes. So I think Ferrari will take the hit for now. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jules Bianchi there if Sauber need help from Ferrari as well, which would be a win-win solution for all, IMO – including the fans.

    • Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 15th July 2013, 9:39

      Ferrari can eat those losses and survive… My question is, “Can Ferrari build a V6 turbo that can win?”

  6. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th July 2013, 9:28

    Here’s daddy Sirotkin.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th July 2013, 9:48

      @keithcollantine – Fun fact: Sergey Sirotkin is also the name of a Russian politician.

    • Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 15th July 2013, 9:50

      His father is an engineer, I’m liking him better already.

    • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 15th July 2013, 13:12

      @keithcollantine I believe “daddy” has a name, show some respect

      • pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 15th July 2013, 13:32

        You believe? Not certain then?

        He is the father of Sergey Sirotkin. In the UK this is sometimes and colloquially called a “dad” or in some circles, “daddy”. How is that disrespectful or are you reading more into what is actually there?

        • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 15th July 2013, 14:44

          Where I come from, if we reffered to someone’s father as “daddy” we would be implying they were “daddies boy” a.k.a spoilt. Different opinions I guess.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th July 2013, 14:26

        @funkyf1 His name is used in the article. I don’t consider this comment disrespectful at all, though of course it is a reference to the clear nepotism at work here.

        • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 15th July 2013, 14:54

          @Keithcollantine Yes I noticed you used his name in the article, therefore I couldn’t understand why you didn’t use it again. The reason for my so called accusation is stated above.

          • Hairs (@hairs) said on 15th July 2013, 22:01

            @funkyf1 I think @keithcollantine‘s cards regarding Sirotkin are pretty much on the table so I think fishing for an apology will get you an empty net. :-) Quite clearly, this is not a driver that was on anyone’s radar for an f1 seat, and even Sauber with their history of taking on new talent wouldn’t have considered a driver this raw without massive sponsorship considerations. Furthermore, it’s obvious that this announcement isn’t driven by Russian companies being interested in getting into f1 (otherwise petrov’s management wouldn’t have such trouble netting sponsors), it’s down to a company director using company funds to get his son a position he hasn’t yet earned.

            Talentless? Maybe not. Pay driver? Definitely. Daddy’s boy? Yes, I’m afraid so.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th July 2013, 22:52

            @funkyf1 I was using it in the ‘daddy’s boy’ sense because it’s a fair comment but I think it you’d have to be rather thin-skinned to consider that “disrespectful”.

  7. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 15th July 2013, 9:38

    I think that, unless TelMex suddenly open up their wallets a lot more, Sirotkin will replace Gutierrez for next year. The question is, who gets the other seat (assuming Hulk is off to Lotus) – Bianchi (with his great potential and Ferrari backing to boot) or Frijns (who is their third driver, but doesn’t have much money)? Methinks Frijns will have to come up with money if he wants a shot at that Sauber seat – or else, there won’t be a lot of options open to him…

    • Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 15th July 2013, 9:43

      It’s a bit sick to think that that what used to be a garage competition in my youth has become a plaything for billionaires.

      • pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 15th July 2013, 14:03

        Today’s billionaires were yesterdays millionaires. Not much different really. F1 teams in the past still needed to be financed by wealth. It always has been a playground for the well heeled. Either that or a factory team, again no difference.
        ‘Garagistas’ may have had the (Enzo promoted) image of knocking things up in a shed but none of it came for pennies!

  8. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 15th July 2013, 9:45

    I hope they maintain the 1 paydriver, 1 racedriver approach.

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 15th July 2013, 10:06

      To be honest, I can’t see them keeping Gutiérrez if they have a rookie coming in. Gutiérrez has not impressed so far and Sauber will need a driver who can score points for them. Ideally, they’d be able to keep Hulkenberg or get a driver from a team up higher (in the 2013 standings) to make sure they’ve got a points scorer. Not to disrespect Sirotkin, but 2 rookies in a Sauber (even if they went for Frijns) might be a huge blow towards being a backmarker for Sauber.

      • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 15th July 2013, 16:40

        I don’t know if 2 rookies = backwards, @npf1

        Real driver input into development is limited these days, or that’s what I keep reading over here and on other sites. I know Caterham got in Kovalainnen, but he only confirmed that the car was a real dog – which Caterham already knew.

        However, I was being chauvinistic and hoping for a Sirotkin / Frijns line-up.

        • Nick (@npf1) said on 15th July 2013, 17:01

          @verstappen

          It’s not just driver development, but Sauber is having a bad year as it is. I think heading into 2014 with 2 rookies would be undesirable because another bad car without a driver who can punch above his weight a little, could be a huge influence on their points total. Hulkenberg at Sauber would be a bad example for a driver taking on a midfield team to great performances and greater morale, but we know Frijns isn’t exactly a PR dream and Sirotkin is yet to run in an F1 car.

          It might be too much for them to take on Sauber in another bad year and if Sauber would not score, it’d be another big financial hit.

  9. Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 15th July 2013, 10:06

    He may well be a good racing driver and his F3.5 results are not awful, especially given his age.

    However, it is hard to believe that it is a coincidence that he is the son of the newly-found sponsor’s director general. This takes pay drivers to the next level (although I guess Max Chilton already falls into this category).

  10. wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 15th July 2013, 10:07

    For the next person who thinks Sirotkin’s a pay driver… you’re welcome..

    • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 15th July 2013, 11:16

      I’m looking at his career summary and it doesn’t look that impressive. He is a pay driver. There is absolutely no doubt about it.

      • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 15th July 2013, 13:09

        @maroonjack I’m not sure what strikes you as ‘doesn’t look impressive’. He was doing karting full-time in 2010, made his Abarth debut towards the end of the season and raced in tracks he’d never even seen before. The following year in Abarth, he beat Niederhauser, a guy who was more experienced. He finished a close 3rd in Auto GP, in much more powerful machinery, and again, in mostly new tracks. He doubled that up with Italian F3 where he finished fifth. This year, he’s whipping more experienced teammate Christopher Zanella, and has had a bit of bad luck..
        What strikes you as ‘impressive’, my dear sir?

      • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 15th July 2013, 13:24

        @maroonjack If you have time, I suggest you read the opinion of a person who actually follows junior formulae avidly, and not just GP2 or GP3: here it is

        • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 16th July 2013, 10:47

          @wsrgo Does he have potential? Maybe, sure, I’ll grant you that. Does he have the skills necessary for F1? Not really. Certainly not yet. Does he have enough experience? Definitely not. Driver’s potential is not enough. Far from it. There are many more deserving candidates for F1 and at this point he gets the chance only because of money. That’s a definition of “pay driver”, isn’t it?

          Surely there’s nothing wrong with being a pay driver AND being fast?

          They are all “fast”. But there are some faster, more experienced drivers, who work just as hard and never get the chance to compete. Yeah, other than that, there’s nothing wrong with being a “fast pay driver”.

          BTW, it looks like you’re changing your tune a bit. First you didn’t want us to call him a “pay driver” at all. Now “fast pay driver” seems to be a-ok. I’d suggest a further tweak: “potentially fast pay driver”, because he’s not quite there yet.

          • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 16th July 2013, 10:52

            @maroonjack

            Does he have the skills necessary for F1? Not really. Certainly not yet. Does he have enough experience? Definitely not.

            You’re being reptitive here..

            BTW, it looks like you’re changing your tune a bit. First you didn’t want us to call him a “pay driver” at all. Now “fast pay driver” seems to be a-ok. I’d suggest a further tweak: “potentially fast pay driver”, because he’s not quite there yet.

            You might want to address that to @keeleyobsessed , because I did not ever say, in any of my comments, that Sirotkin is a pay driver.

          • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 16th July 2013, 10:56

            @wsrgo Dang. I mixed up your comment with @keeleyobsessed. Sorry about that ;)

            Anyway, the point still stands. He’s not ready for F1. He’s not fast enough to compete with the big guys. Right now he’s only “potentially fast” and I actually think that entering F1 too early could hurt him. Just take a closer look at the career of Jaime Alguersuari.

          • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 16th July 2013, 11:04

            @wsrgo

            You’re being repetitive here…

            Not really, skills and experience are not the same thing and unfortunately he still lacks both. Maybe better skills will come with experience, maybe not.

            I did not ever say, in any of my comments, that Sirotkin is a pay driver.

            Yeah, I know. I noticed that after the fact. You choose to straight up deny the reality of the situation. I get that. But I still think that no F1 team would seriously consider him at this point in his career, if it wasn’t for the money.

    • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 15th July 2013, 11:24

      @wsrgo Surely there’s nothing wrong with being a pay driver AND being fast? I think that’s the ideal situation…
      Think about it, sponsors look for drivers to get their name out there, the faster ones are more likely to win, and therefore the sponsors are willing to pay more money for them. The teams also want fast drivers, and if they pay for their seat, then brilliant!
      The teams can cut costs whilst increasing sponsorship money, getting a fast driver while they’re at it.
      The sponsors can increase their publicity through a fast F1 driver in a top team making headlines.
      The driver gets paid by the sponsors, and drives for a top team (with the implication of being able to fight for championships!)

      Sirotkin may be a pay driver in the terms of a sponsor is paying for his seat, but that shouldn’t mean that he is a bad/slow driver. From what I’ve read about him, he seems competent, even if his name has slipped past me these past few years..

  11. Girts (@girts) said on 15th July 2013, 10:10

    I think the influence of Russians and Russian money in F1 is only going to increase over the upcoming years. It’s probably just a matter of time when we will hear the Russian anthem on the podium.

    The president seems to like motorsport and that means a lot in a country like Russia. Moreover, the Russian people have been passionate about F1 since the iron curtain fell. There were F1 magazines in Russian already in 90s. When Vitaly Petrov finished third at the 2011 Australian GP, Rossiya24, a popular Russian news channel, immediately interrupted their normal program and reported it as ‘breaking news’. Alexey Popov, a Russian F1 reporter, has 46 000 followers on Twitter, which is approximately as many as the best British journalists have.

    Given all of that as well as the size of the country and the resources it posesses, it only makes sense that there are Russian sponsors, Russian teams, Russian drivers and a Russian GP in F1.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 15th July 2013, 10:15

      just a matter of time when we will hear the Russian anthem on the podium

      – I am sure the “again” must have just slipped out of that @girts, after all, its not that long ago that Vitaly Petrov was on the podium for “LotusF1″

      I understand that this deal seems like backing from the top in Russia and the guys also have ties to Ferrari. Only question remains, will the Russian GP change from Sochi to St.Petersburg? If it does, I am sure there will be a lot more people attending, as its not that far from Finland, nor from the baltics!

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th July 2013, 10:23

        @bascb – Joe Saward speculated on this a few months ago. He reckons that everyone involved in the Sochi project is madly trying to get out of the contract, and has been told to keep an eye and an ear out for news of a street circuit in St. Petersberg replacing it. There hasn’t been a word on it since.

      • Girts (@girts) said on 15th July 2013, 10:28

        @BasCB Well, anthem is played only for the winning driver / team, which is what I had in mind :)

        I doubt if the Russian GP will change its location any time soon as quite a lot of money has already been invested in building and Sochi has always been a very popular holiday resort (my family used to spend the summer holidays there during the Soviet times even though it was a 2000 km long flight). The 2014 Olympic games are going to increase the attractiveness and recognition of the place further. For sure, St Petersburg has its advantages as well and I think we might see an F1 race there some day, too. But I don’t think it’ll happen over the next five years or so.

        • Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 15th July 2013, 18:40

          If I was a Russian oligarch, I still might hesitate to get involved with F1, at least in the case of backing anything other than a top team. If neither Honda nor Toyota could succeed in this sport, how is Russian defense industry or natural resources money going to deliver what yen couldn’t?

          F1 is rigged from the inside and sponsoring anyone other than the top 3-4 teams is a sucker’s bet!

  12. Justin (@thejwooly) said on 15th July 2013, 10:22

    Here’s how I see it. We may lose one seat deserved by a proven and skilled driver. But at least we don’t lose two by losing Sauber.

  13. Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 15th July 2013, 10:58

    If he does race this year there will be an F1 driver younger than me on the grid, which is slightly depressing. But I think we should give the guy a chance. To be in the top ten in the Renault World Series in your first season aged 17 is hugely impressive, and to win in AutoGP, even if that’s hardly a first rate series, the year before is equally so.

    However, I don’t think his sponsors are doing him much good securing him a race seat. He’ll be the youngest ever driver, and he has so little experience I feel another year in WSR or GP2 would do him good. Still, Kimi Raikkonen was very raw when he arrived and it worked out okay for him…

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th July 2013, 11:06

      @lin1876

      If he does race this year there will be an F1 driver younger than me on the grid, which is slightly depressing.

      Sebastian Vettel is a three-time World Champion, and he’s younger than me.

      That’s depressing.

    • caci_99 said on 15th July 2013, 17:05

      If he does race this year there will be an F1 driver younger than me on the grid, which is slightly depressing.

      Depressing? Whoa! Every driver on the grid is younger than me, I must be through third degree by now :). Don’t make such fuss about younger age while you’re still young, wait for many years later on ;)

    • Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 16th July 2013, 0:10

      I did say slightly depressing.

  14. Girts (@girts) said on 15th July 2013, 11:03

    Interestingly, his manager has confirmed that Sirotkin is going to take part in Friday’s free practice sessions during this season and that the aim is to prepare him for a race seat in 2014.

    • woogle said on 15th July 2013, 11:35

      has he got a superlicence?

      • Girts (@girts) said on 15th July 2013, 11:53

        I guess he doesn’t but, if FIA granted a superlicence to Ma Qinghua, then I think Sirotkin should qualify for it, too.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th July 2013, 12:06

          Ma completed 300km of testing wth HRT, which is one of the criteria for eligibility. I believe Kimi Raikkonen earned his Superlicence exactly the same way.

          • bull mello (@bullmello) said on 16th July 2013, 1:38

            Right. Though Kimi was a bit older, 21 I believe, he had only 23 single seater races in his experience and tested in an F1 car to satisfy the FIA for his superlicense. If I remember correctly, not everybody was so happy about that at the time. Looks like it worked out pretty well though. Worth noting the testing was with Sauber and that was where Kimi broke into F1. I think Sirotkin could be a win/win for Sauber.

        • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 15th July 2013, 17:03

          Yes but Ma did a young drivers test and Sirotkin will not.

  15. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 15th July 2013, 11:16

    I’m happy with him getting a seat at Sauber, keeps them going and he seems quite talented. Not like Max Chilton where people at Marrusia seem to have mistaken the world ‘talent’ for ‘person with the largest pockets’.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th July 2013, 11:33

      Not like Max Chilton where people at Marrusia seem to have mistaken the world ‘talent’ for ‘person with the largest pockets’.

      Marussia kin of need Chilton and his money, so that they can continue competing.

    • Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 15th July 2013, 13:27

      Funny that you mention Chilton when this Russian kid has three mayor companies too pay for his seat and basically bail Sauber out. Sirotkin has too show anything talented in motorsport before we can speak of getting an F1 seat. He’s going to be eaten be the others for sure.

      • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 15th July 2013, 14:33

        @force-maikel Why do you speak about things you don’t know? You speak about junior formulae as if you’re an expert, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Do you have any idea what he has done in the past 2 and a half years in motorsport. If you don’t, it’s best if you don’t talk at all.

        • Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 15th July 2013, 15:56

          Well I didn’t expect such a comment from you @wsrgo! I know that Sirotkin was the 2011 Formula Abarth Champion and that he finished third in Auto Gp last year. He also raced in F3. As far as racing goes, yes he has had the occasional succes but he’s not set the place on fire compared to the likes of da costa, Frijns or Vandoorne. Maybe I was too agressive in my post but F1 is way to early for him. Now he’s just going to be another pay drivers that gets kicked out in a year or two.

          I’ve not been able to follow the lower classes as good as I want but that doesn’t mean that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

          • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 15th July 2013, 16:05

            @force-maikel I’m sorry if I came across as being too militant, but as an ardent follower of junior formulae, it feels bad when drivers who you know are talented are being labelled as ‘pay drivers’. Everybody is a ‘pay driver’ as all drivers are required to bring sponsorship to a team. In this sense, I’m partly happy as Sauber have got a financial reprieve, and Sirotkin is a talented driver, but my only apprehension is that he’s coming to F1 a year too early..

          • Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 15th July 2013, 16:14

            @wsrgo Apology accepted. I personally don’t want to brand Sirotkin as a paydriver but I was trying to point out that is what others will call him now because of the Russian bail out (I should have made that a bit more clearer). I agree with you that he is coming to F1 a year to early but I’m still not convinced on his talent. But I guess that’s a matter of interpretation. Maybe he’ll prove himself in the remainder of WSR 3.5 and perhaps even the friday sessions (if they happen).

            I would still rather see a Frijns or Vandoorne getting into F1. I think they are ready.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.