SEPTEMBER 14, 1998
Who drives for Sauber?
THERE was considerable activity in the Sauber motorhome at Monza following the news that Johnny Herbert has quit the team to join Stewart Grand Prix and that Sauber has failed to reach agreement with Heinz-Harald Frentzen.
Sauber may not appear to be in need of money at the moment but the problems in Malaysia, which have resulted in the team abandoning plans to build its own engine, could force Petronas to downgrade or even rethink its F1 involvement. The team would thus need both money and engines in the long-term.
This had led to speculation that Sauber may try to do a deal with one of the McLaren Mercedes test drivers. Sauber has long enjoyed links with Mercedes and might be willing to do a deal which would allow McLaren to place drivers in exchange for a secondary supply of engines in 2000 or 2001. The obvious candidates if this was the case are Nick Heidfeld and Ricardo Zonta and our spies say that Heidfeld is the more likely of the two as this would enable Sauber to tap into some of the German companies which are looking at F1 sponsorship in the future.