Sauber is interested in German Touring Car (DTM) driver Gary Paffett as a replacement for Giancarlo Fisichella next year. Fisichella is widely presumed to be moving on, possibly to Renault, and Sauber has been talking to Briton Paffett recently. Paffett drives for Mercedes in the DTM and is impressing this season with some strong performances.
"They are interested, we'll see where it leads," said Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug told Reuters in regard to Sauber and Paffett. "It's possible he may have a test."
Paffett's manager, Martin Hines, admitted that Sauber was not the only team that he had been in discussions with. "We've been talking to Sauber and two other teams," he told Motorsport News.
"There is immense interest in Gary and Mercedes has now realised what it has under its wing. Gary's contract with Mercedes ends this year and I'm 95 percent certain he will be in F1 next year."
There has been speculation that Sauber may try and get Mercedes to agree to let Paffett test for the team in the Friday practice sessions at the Hungarian Grand Prix. The summer testing ban comes into force after Hockenheim this weekend so there will be no opportunity before Hungary.
Paffett previously drove a year-old Mercedes in the DTM and was promoted to the HWA squad, that fields four new C-Klasse cars, this season. He won the season opener at Hockenheim and again at Lausitz but was disqualified due to running out of fuel on his warm down lap. He then won at the Norisring and was victorious in last weekend's invitation race at Shanghai.
"Gary has an impressive career behind him, and is doing a good job in the DTM," said Peter Sauber, according to The Telegraph. "I think he is a fighter -- and that is important."