Following in the footsteps of Jean Alesi, former Formula One driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen will move to the German Touring Car series (DTM) in 2004. Frentzen drove for Sauber in F1 in 2003 but both he and teammate Nick Heidfeld have been replaced for next season, by Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa. The 36 year-old German will now take the wheel of an Opel Vectra GTS in next year's DTM championship.
Carl-Peter Forster, Chairman and Managing Director of Adam Opel AG, described Frentzen as: "A strong fighter and highly popular racer, who is an excellent match for the Opel brand. Frentzen has never given up -- even when the going got tough. That's what makes him special"
Frentzen began his F1 career with Sauber in 1994 and also drove for Williams, Jordan and Arrows. After a dismal 2002 season with the fast-sinking Arrows team, Heinz-Harald returned to Sauber for 2003. When the team did not renew his contract for 2004, and with seats in F1 limited and hard-fought for, Frentzen decided the DTM was his best option.
Opel now has four drivers confirmed to drive the new Vectra GTS being introduced next season; Manuel Reuter, Peter Dumbreck, Marcel F?ssler and Frentzen. The manufacturer is aiming to field seven cars next year, including some Astra models as used in 2003.
Alesi moved to the DTM with Mercedes in 2002 and has since won three races in his two years with the series. In 2003 he won at Donington Park in the UK and the final race at Hockenheim, finishing fifth overall in the drivers' championship.