APRIL 3, 2000

Rampf replaces Ress at Sauber

WILLY RAMPF has been appointed technical director of the Red Bull Sauber Petronas team. The move comes just a few days after Sauber's embarrassing decision to withdraw from the Brazilian Grand Prix after a spate of rear wing failures. Two weeks earlier Mika Salo was disqualified from sixth place in the Australian GP because of an illegal front wing.

Ress has only been technical director at Sauber since February 1998 but has been the team's chief designer for nearly 15Êyears. He will now take charge of Sauber's research and development program, leaving Rampf in charge of all technical matters. According to the team it was Ress's decision to move to a new role.

Rampf is a former BMW engineer who joined Sauber in 1994 to work as Heinz-Harald Frentzen's race engineer. He stayed with the team for only three seasons before returning to BMW to work in motorcycle research. He rejoined Sauber at the start of this season as head of track engineering. He will oversee the design of the Sauber-Petronas C20 chassis for next year, work on which will begin next month. The team's chief designer is Argentina's Sergio Rinland.

The transfer of Ress is no real surprise as Peter Sauber needs to show that he is making changes in the team as he renegotiates the Sauber deal with the Malaysian oil company Petronas. That deal comes to an end this season and Petronas has yet to decide whether to continue with the Swiss team.