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Ferrari and Sauber agree terms for 2000

SAUBER has agreed an extension to its current engine supply deal with Ferrari with the Italians expected to supply the Swiss team with Sauber Petronas-badged V10 engines for a fourth season. The deal is believed to be worth around $18.5m to Ferrari. Sauber had been hoping to build its own F1 engines in the year 2000 but Petronas decided to cancel that program when Malaysia suffered economic problems at the end of last year. A Sauber Petronas-designed family of road car engines will go into production in Malaysia in 2001, and these are expected to be supplied to the government-controlled car company Proton.

The Ferrari engine deal is a financial strain on Sauber - which is why the team hired Pedro Diniz this year with his rumored $12m of sponsorship - and there are worries at Hinwil that Petronas may split with the team at the end of the current contract, which runs out at the end of the 2000 season. Sauber is talking vaguely to Toyota about some form of a deal for the 2001 season. The Ferrari deal could probably be extended indefinitely - Ferrari is happy to receive the money - but if the team wants to make progress it needs to find a motor manufacturer which is not demanding money.

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