SEPTEMBER 25, 2000

Sauber looking seriously at Raikkonen

THE Sauber Petronas team is understood to be looking seriously about signing up Finnish rising star Kimi Raikkonen for next year - perhaps even as team mate to Nick Heidfeld. The Swiss team, which is not known for making adventurous decisions, was very impressed by the 20-year-old from Espoo in his recent test at Mugello and have concluded that the jump to Formula 1 may not be too great a step for Raikkonen, despite the fact that he is currently only racing in Formula Renault in Britain.

The team has been looking at a variety of drivers, including Ricardo Zonta and Jos Verstappen while it is not yet certain that Pedro Diniz will move on, although if his father has bought into Prost Grand Prix this would be a logical move for Pedro. Raikkonen would be a risky step but Sauber might end up with a big new star on its books, which would be helpful for the team as it tries to build up its performance and image to keep sponsor Petronas happy.