All change at Sauber

All change at Sauber

Peter Sauber has reportedly confirmed that both Nick Heidfeld and Heinz-Harald Frentzen will depart the team at the end of this season. Giancarlo Fisichella has already been signed for the Swiss team for 2004 and it's long been suspected Ferrari...

Peter Sauber has reportedly confirmed that both Nick Heidfeld and Heinz-Harald Frentzen will depart the team at the end of this season. Giancarlo Fisichella has already been signed for the Swiss team for 2004 and it's long been suspected Ferrari test driver Felipe Massa will return to Sauber, where he made his F1 debut in 2002.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Nick Heidfeld.
Photo by Sauber Petronas.
"It is a shame to lose them," Sauber was quoted as saying after Indianapolis, in regard to Frentzen and Heidfeld. "But it is better to do so than have poor results." The pair of drivers gave Sauber its best result all season at Indy, with Frentzen third and Heidfeld fifth.

Frentzen commented after the race: "My third place gives a lot of motivation to the team. I wish it all the best for the future," which certainly sounds like a goodbye. Heidfeld told his official website he would do his very best at Suzuka "in my last race for Sauber."

It's speculated that young Brazilian Massa is being groomed by Ferrari, which supplies engines to Sauber, for a race seat with the Scuderia. Massa scored four points with Sauber in 2002 but was apparently considered a bit too hot-headed to stay with the team this season. A year of testing and a year back with Sauber would give him a more experienced outlook.

Fisichella, who has made no secret of his desire to drive for Ferrari, is considered one of the best talents on the grid. Rumour has it that whichever one of Fisichella and Massa does better with Sauber next year, will be the prime candidate for a future vacancy at Ferrari.

Sauber has made no official announcement of Massa's return, although a spokesperson was quoted as saying: "We know that Massa will come and it's just a matter of time before we announce it."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Nick Heidfeld , Felipe Massa , Peter Sauber
Teams Ferrari , Sauber