FEBRUARY 3, 2017
SMP not looking to deepen F1 involvement
Boris Rothenberg, who heads Russia's major SMP Bank and a racing division called SMP Racing, said he is not looking to expand the F1 programme.
SMP has been represented across motor racing, including Le Mans and Indycar, but the centrepiece is its involvement in formula one.
Last year, it was in the form of a partnership with the works Renault team, and this year Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin is slated to step up and become the official reserve driver.
But Rothenberg, a billionaire and reportedly close to controversial Russian president Vladimir Putin, says that for now, the SMP programme will not expand within F1.
"Yes, the programme is moving forwards, but as for it growing, only heaven knows," he told the Ria Novosti news agency.
"For now we can count only on ourselves to build the programme. If specific objectives are set for us then we can think differently, but in the meantime we can rely only on ourselves.
"So at the moment, yes," said Rothenberg, when asked if SMP's involvement will be limited to Sirotkin's Renault test seat.