FEBRUARY 2, 2017
Renault-Sirotkin deal to proceed after Vasseur exit
Sergey Sirotkin will stay with the Renault team in 2017 despite the change in upper management.
That is the news from the mouth of Boris Rothenberg, a leading Russian banker who also heads a prominent Russian motor sport programme.
Spearheading the 'SMP Racing' programme from the cockpit is GP2 driver Sirotkin, who was poised to step up to the role as official reserve driver at Renault this year.
But that deal was agreed some months ago between Rothenberg and Frederic Vasseur, the Renault team boss who has now departed.
Renault is now led by Cyril Abiteboul, who differed considerably with Vasseur.
But Rothenberg says that does not change the deal agreed between Vasseur and Sirotkin.
"The programme does not change, even though in Renault there was a change of leader," he is quoted by the Tass news agency.
"We met with Frederic Vasseur, now it is necessary to meet with the new head. But Vasseur himself told us that everything will stay the same," Rothenberg added.
"On this issue, we plan to make a separate presentation and will say more."
Rothenberg, who owns Russia's SMP Bank, also insisted that US sanctions imposed on him - reportedly for being close to Russian president Vladimir Putin - do not affect the motor racing programme.
"We're moving forward and pay no attention to the sanctions," he said. "We did not abandon Indycar last year and this year we will stay.
"The people there welcomed us, constantly saying it's a pity I cannot come. Sport should be out of politics," Rothenberg added.