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Kiss goodbye to Karl

Karl Wendlinger's future as a Formula 1 driver is bleak because of his lack of performance this year for the Sauber-Ford team. Wendlinger has been dramatically outpaced by his team mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

The Sauber team continues to say that they are standing by Karl, who suffered serious head injuries at Monaco a year ago, but looked to have overcome his problems in winter testing. It appears now that Wendlinger cannot match his performance from before the accident. This is a sad state of affairs as Wendlinger had been a Sauber driver on-and-off for the last five years; and it was his connections with the Red Bull drinks company which gave the team financial security when Red Bull bought a majority shareholding in the team's holding company, while allowing Sauber to retain the majority of the votes on the board of directors.

The fact remains that Wendlinger is not performing, and the pressure is building for the team to change if there is any hope of pushing ahead. The team is trying to discover just how good Frentzen is by seeking to measure him against a known F1 talent. Unfortunately, there are no longer any drivers who are active in F1, available and still quick enough. The team is believed to have considered Pedro Lamy, JJ lehto, Andrea de Cesaris and Riccardo Patrese, but is now looking elsewhere, perhaps to newer talents with some F1 experience, like Alessandro Zanardi or a current test driver with a rival team.

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