Amid scepticism of the team’s Russian rescue deal, Sergey Sirotkin is in fact already seated at the wheel of a Sauber.

Sergey_Sirotkin_Seatfit_Sauber_F1_TeamSauber F1 Team on Wednesday published photos of the 17-year-old Russian driver having a seat fitted for the 2013 car at Sauber’s Swiss factory.

Sirotkin is central to Sauber’s future, thanks to his crucial link to Russian government-linked entities that could deliver millions to the cash-strapped team.

But at present he lacks the mandatory FIA super license, meaning he cannot appear for example during Friday practice sessions at grands prix this year.

Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Tobias Gruner, however, reports that Sirotkin is scheduled to drive the 2013 Sauber at a demonstration run next month in Sochi, the scene of next year’s inaugural Russian grand prix. The youngster turns 18 next Tuesday.

Info: GMM, Image: Sauber F1 Team