OCTOBER 23, 2000
Villadelprat to head operations at Prost
It is worth noting that there were rumors in the paddock in Malaysia that another former Barnard associate GiorgioÊAscanelli is working at Ferrari, designing a gearbox for Prost Grand Prix. When the Ferrari engine deal was announced Prost said that the Italian company would not be supplying the team with gearboxes but Ascanelli remains a Ferrari employee so presumably a further deal has been agreed.
Prost's biggest problem remains money and with Telefonica deciding not to continue in F1 he is being pushed towards a deal with Pedro Diniz. The Brazilian has money to spend next year but Peter Sauber is not showing much interest. This may be because Sauber is trying to raise the amount of money that Diniz needs to pay but there are also signs that the Swiss team owner will decide to take on Finnish youngster Kimi Raikkonen if he can find the budget he needs to replace Diniz. This is not easy at the moment as Sauber's results have been disappointing this year.
Although Sauber is very conventional and not prone to making radical decisions there are a number of important members of the team arguing in favor of the young Finn, including technical director Willy Rampf, head of engineering Jacky Eeckelaert and team coordinator Jost Capito.
The final decision will have to be based on money because Sauber needs more to run an effective program next year. If he can find enough from Diniz, he is likely to sign up Raikkonen as test driver on a long-term contract, which would be a more conservative route.