Diniz tipped to replace Heidfeld at Prost

Pedro Diniz is tipped to head in the opposite direction to Nick Heidfeld and leave Sauber for the Prost team next season

Diniz tipped to replace Heidfeld at Prost

The 30-year-old Brazilian would bring around £7 million of sponsorship with him, which could prove significant in securing the French team an engine contract for 2001. Prost's current engine-supplier Peugeot will pull out of F1 at the end of the season, but the team is on the verge of finalising a contract with Ferrari for a supply of its V10s next year, at a cost of approximately £15 million per season.

Diniz, who is into his second season with the Swiss-based Sauber squad, drove for Prost when it was still the Ligier team in 1996. He scored two points for sixth-place finishes at the Spanish and Canadian Grands Prix.

Team boss Alain Prost is set to announce his 2001 plans later this week. Despite being linked to Jaguar and Sauber, Jean Alesi is now expected to stay with the team on the condition that Prost stays in control of his eponymous outfit.

Heidfeld, who joined Prost after winning the 1999 Formula 3000 International Championship, has been confirmed on a three-year contract with Sauber, but the identity of his team mate is still to be confirmed. Brazilian Ricardo Zonta is favourite, should he turn down the chance to join McLaren as its test driver.

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