Peter Sauber adds fuel to the Salo rumors

Peter Sauber has indicated that he has not yet made the final decision on his driver line-up for the 2001 Formula One season. "It is far too early to make a decision over drivers. Mika is doing a good job but I don't have to make a decision for...

Peter Sauber has indicated that he has not yet made the final decision on his driver line-up for the 2001 Formula One season. "It is far too early to make a decision over drivers. Mika is doing a good job but I don't have to make a decision for a while yet," said Sauber.

Sauber's statement is particularly interesting in light of the fact that Mika Salo has a contract with the team through the 2001 season. The seat of Salo's teammate, Brazilian Pedro Diniz, is considered to be safe in light of the substantial sponsorship he brings to the team.

The speculation is that Sauber may be negotiating with Toyota, who are due to enter Formula One in 2002, to release Salo to the Japanese team to assist in development in 2001, and then driving in 2002. Numbers approaching US$24M over four years have been suggested for the Salo-Toyota tie-up.

Salo, who worked his way to F1 through the Japanese Formula 3000 championship, has always been popular in Japan, and his wife, Noriko Endo, is also Japanese.

However, Sauber is, at this point, much more interested in talking about engines than about Salo's future with the team: "But we are close to signing the engine deal with Ferrari, and we are very happy with them. It is a good relationship, and there is a good technical aspect as well."

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mika Salo , Peter Sauber , Pedro Diniz
Teams Ferrari , Sauber