How strong is Mazzacane's contract?

THE rumor at the Michelin launch in Paris yesterday was that Alain Prost may be looking at ways of getting Pedro de la Rosa to drive for him in place of signed driver Gaston Mazzacane. The Argentine joined the team thanks to the support of Latin American TV station PSN but at the time de la Rosa was not thought to be available. PSN wants a Spanish-speaking driver in the Prost and De la Rosa is undoubtedly a better choice than Mazzacane. He has more experience in F1 and has been rather more impressive than Mazzacane. De la Rosa also comes with backing from the Spanish oil company Repsol-YPF and so if PSN can be convinced to make the change the team could get an extra $7m in its budget. It should also be remembered that de la Rosa is managed by Prost's friend and advisor Julian Jakobi.

De la Rosa has very little choice but to push to take a drive off someone else. He could join Minardi but it is clear that the little Italian team is going to need to be rebuilt considerably. Prost has been showing well in testing and could do well this year and so it makes sense for the team to want two strong drivers.

Much will obviously depend on what PSN wants to happen but it is going to be very hard to argue against good results. Dumping Mazzacane before the start of the season is an option but this would create bad publicity for PSN but if he does not perform it would be a lot easier.

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