F1 team in line for ‘criminal consequences’ after breaking mandated sponsorship rules

Sauber released its C43 and within 24 hours, the team has found itself in muddy waters and can potentially face “criminal consequences”.

The Hinwil-based team announced its decision to team up with title sponsor Stake, which is a online casino and gambling portal.

The logo of Stake was clearly visible all over the car in what was a new black and dark-red livery for the 2023 season.

A gambling firm naturally has deep pockets and Sauber may well have been excited with the cash flow, but it appears like the team has broken Swiss advertising laws during the launch.

Switzerland Federal Gaming Board (ESBK) is set to look into the launch and the heavy branding of Stake.

This is likely to result in severe action for Sauber.

“If the ESBK becomes aware of the case and initiates an investigation, it could have criminal consequences,” said Ruedi Schneider, the board’s deputy head.

Reputed Swiss newspaper Blick, meanwhile, has revealed that Sauber will only use the amount of branding seen at the launch for a “few races” in the season and will tone it down for the majority of the campaign.

For the majority of the season, Sauber will use the branding of ‘Kick’, which is Stake’s gaming livestream platform.

Sauber management, meanwhile, doesn’t seem too flustered by recent events, especially on the back of Stake’s claim that it is not concerned about tapping the Swiss market for its operations.

“Stake confirmed to us that the company is not targeting the Swiss market with its games,” Sauber said in a statement.

“The domain is blocked in Switzerland and further measures are being taken to prevent Swiss users from accessing the services,” the team added.

“As a team, we always comply with all applicable local laws and FIA regulations.”

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