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Herbert to stay at Sauber

HONDA's decision to stay out of F1 until the year 2000 makes it very likely that Britain's Johnny Herbert will stay at Sauber for one more year. The British driver was thought to be on the shortlist of several teams, notably Williams and Honda, but as neither seems likely to have a vacancy, Johnny must now wait and see if he is offered a deal by Jordan or accept that he must stay with Sauber for another season and then see what drives are available for the year 2000.

Sauber is understood to be offering Herbert equal number one status with Jean Alesi because Johnny has not been happy on occasions this year when the Frenchman has been given more attention. Despite this, the two have a good relationship and their rivalry helps the team to move forward.

The biggest worry for both drivers is that Sauber needs to make technical progress and is not showing signs of investing where it needs to at the moment. The Sauber Petronas V10 engine project seems to have drifted into oblivion. The deal between Sauber and the Malaysian oil company continues until the end of the year 2000 but it remains to be seen whether it will be renewed because of the economic problems which have occurred in Asia in recent months. The Malaysians may choose to stay in F1 but are likely to move to a bigger team in an effort to get more coverage.

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