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Cosmetic surgery for Sauber

As predicted in Formula 1 Foreign Report a fortnight ago, Sauber went testing at Mugello, Italy, last week with a radically-different aerodynamic package, featuring a raised-nose similar to those used by the Benetton, Williams and McLaren teams. Remarkably, this has been achieved without the chassis having to be changed.

The C14 chassis, which was hurriedly designed by German Leo Ress and his crew last winter, after Ford signed a deal with the Swiss team in early November. As a result, the chassis did not get as much aerodynamic testing as Sauber would have liked.

The Mugello test was not a major step forward although Heinz-Harald Frentzen produced some useful times for the team, competing against Ferrari - which had Jean Alesi and then Gerhard Berger trying some new V12 engines which can rev up to 17000rpm - and Minardi, which had Luca Badoer doing development work on the M195 chassis in preparation for the team's home race at Imola this weekend.

The Sauber team says it is not planning to change drivers at the moment, although Karl Wendlinger's comeback has been something of a disappointment so far, the Austrian being nearly 2s a lap slower in qualifying than Frentzen in Brazil and Argentina. There are suggestions that Sauber may call up JJ Lehto to stand in for Wendlinger if the situation does not improve in the next few races.

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