AUGUST 22, 2005
Michelin unhappy with Massa test
Given the intensity of the tyre war this year, it is not entirely surprising that Michelin is less than happy with the news that Sauber driver Felipe Massa will be testing at Monza this week for the Ferrari team. Massa joins Scuderia Ferrari next year and his knowledge of Michelin tyres will almost certainly help Bridgestone to improve its products next year.
As a result of the test, which the Sauber team cannot really stop given that Ferrari is supplying its engines this year, Michelin has decided that Massa will not be allowed to do any further tyre testing for Sauber. This will put more work in the direction of Jacques Villeneuve but may also offer the opportunity for another driver to do some work for Sauber. This could play into the hands of GP2 driver Neel Jani, who sometimes does driving work for the Swiss team.
There is much talk at the moment about Sauber's drivers next year with BMW's Dr. Mario Theissen now busy talking to all and sundry about their plans for the future. The feeling is that it is not worth the team paying off Jacques Villeneuve, although it is only around $3m that would be nedeed to do this. Villeneuve is experienced and well known in the United States as the last World Champion to come from the Americas. BMW is no doubt trying for a deal with Nick Heidfeld and if the offer is sensible it is hard to imagine that Heidfeld will turn down being the front man for a German car manufacturer.
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