Renault bargains with Fisichella

GIANCARLO FISICHELLA is likely to remain a Renault driver next season, despite the fact that the Regie opted against coming to an agreement before the Roman's option to re-sign expired.

It is thought that Fisichella's previous contract featured a year-on-year pay rise that made him far and away the best paid racing driver never to have won at the highest level that, if the option were to have been picked up, would have escalated still further.

Fisichella's reputation has been enhanced with the Renault-owned Benetton team this year, despite the team's dismal season. The arrival of Jenson Button's talent from Williams was to be a real watershed after a comfortable pairing with Alex Wurz and Fisichella has apparently risen to the challenge of outpacing the young Englishman.

Fisichella's manager Gianpaolo Matteuci said: "Giancarlo is free today from a legal point of view. He can drive for whoever next season. Now we are waiting for Briatore to clarify the situation and to say what is the best situation for Giancarlo and Renault."

Of course if Renault was seeking to take a chunk out of Fisichella's salary, any team offering a larger sum might well have a good chance of securing his services, and Arrows is known to have been making inquiries.

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