JULY 29, 2002

Sauber in the spotlight

With McLaren, Renault and British American Racing having largely settled on their drivers for the 2003 season the focus of attention in F1 is now shifting towards Sauber and to whether or not Nick Heidfeld and Felipe Massa will be staying with the Swiss team next year. Team boss Peter Sauber said at Hockenheim that Heidfeld will almost certainly stay with the team but the future of Massa is less certain. Massa has shown himself to be quick but ill-disciplined this year and Sauber is keen that whoever drives for the team next year brings in more World Championship points. There seems to be a feeling inside the team that Massa came to F1 a little too quickly and needs more time to mature. The question now being posed therefore is what happens to Massa and who might join Sauber in his place.

The team had a look at Jos Verstappen earlier in the year but the Dutchman was too big to fit in the existing monocoque, which was designed for Heidfeld and Massa, who are both very small drivers. The team is planning to build a new car for 2003 and so, in theory, this should not be a problem. Verstappen is quick and experienced but there are others around who are just as interesting for Sauber. One of them is Heinz-Harald Frentzen, a former Sauber driver, another is Minardi's Mark Webber.