AUGUST 18, 2000

Only the scraps are left

With the recent driver movements for 2001 there is not much left on the driver market.

With the recent driver movements for 2001 there is not much left on the driver market. There is one drive going at Jaguar, two at Sauber and probably two at Arrows, Prost and Minardi. All the others have gone. The main interest at the moment centers on Sauber, the most competitive of the remaining teams. Next year the Swiss team will again use Petronas-badged Ferrari V10 engines. This year's car was not that good but there is a new technical team at Hinwil and it will be interesting how they do next year. Mika Salo is leaving the team and Pedro Diniz's future is far from secure as the team needs to get more results to keep its sponsors happy.

One obvious possibility is Jos Verstappen. The Dutchman is quick but he tends to be a little unstable and still has accidents. This year he has been somewhat overshadowed by his Arrows team mate Pedro de la Rosa. He joined Arrows thanks to backing from Repsol but if he was offered a job at Sauber - without having to bring sponsorship - he might take the chance. It is a step in the right direction.

Jean Alesi could go back to Sauber but he may be holding out hopes of a drive alongside Eddie Irvine at Jaguar.

This is not as stupid as it sounds. Alesi is a star and has the ability to motivate those around him - which appears to be one of the problems with Eddie Irvine. He knows that Prost Grand Prix is not going anywhere in the short-term and that if he wants to make a mark in his final years in F1 he needs to switch teams now. Given the other choices available to Jaguar, Alesi is not a bad bet.

The option for both Sauber and Jaguar is to hire someone from outside Formula 1. Luciano Burti is clearly angling to get the Jaguar drive and while he would do a good solid job, there is no evidence that he is going to make Irvine work hard.

Sauber has been looking very closely at Enrique Bernoldi, who is popular with sponsor Red Bull, but it has to be said that Bernoldi has not won a thing in F3000 to date and has not really looked like doing it.

Of the current crowd in F3000 Mark Webber is the most promising and he is joining Benetton as a test driver. Bruno Junqueira is going to America and Nicolas Minassian is probably a little too old to make it to F1 and will probably follow Junqueira. Tomas Enge has looked good on occasion but he seems still to be very wild.

Fernando Alonso looks promising but probably needs another year in F3000. He could end up at Minardi next year because Gaston Mazzacane has made no impression at all.

In Formula 3 there is a lot of talk about Antonio Pizzonia, Tomas Scheckter and Giorgio Pantano but all of the seem to need more time to develop.