I don’t want to cast aspersions but there seems to be a consistent theme that surrounds Russian investment in anything. It often seems that they are quick to put a sticker on it and lend a name or driver but when it comes time to actually cut a check, things slow down to an imperceptible crawl.
It seems that Sauber’s announced rescue plan that included investment from the National Institute of Aviation Technologies, the Investment Cooperation International Fund and the State Fund of Development of North-West Russian Federation has not come to fruition yet.
Were the team a little premature in announcing their savior from the flames of bankruptcy? Perhaps. Getting three parties to sign anything can be a daunting task but pressure was on the team to find investors and quick. They also announced that they would be running 17-year-old Sergey Sirotkin (he would be 18 by the time the season starts) as part of this new investment package.
Germany’s Bild says that the National Institute of Aviation Technologies (NIAT) have now voted against the investment at the board level. While all three organizations have links to the Russian government, it could be a domino effect if one entity gets spooked and withdraws from the investment oppotunity. Sky Sports F1 also suggested that Vladimir Putin has yet to bless the investment which could make things more challenging.
Regardless, Russian investment in anything is one part bravado and two parts dodgy business practices. With Sochi to arrive on the calendar in 2014, the investment seemed logical to have Russian investment in the sport but the promoters were late with their application to the FIA and missed the deadline. Just another in a long list of junior-league business practices from the fine folks in Russia.