Interview: Fisichella Weighs Up his Options

Giancarlo Fisichella, increasingly frustrated at Jordan, yearns to race for a top Formula One team next year and says he has plenty of possibilities.

Giancarlo Fisichella, increasingly frustrated at Jordan, yearns to race for a top Formula One team next year and says he has plenty of possibilities.

But the dream drive he covets more than anything - alongside world champion Michael Schumacher at Ferrari - remains a distant prize.

The closest Fisichella has got recently is visiting the Swiss factory of Ferrari-powered Sauber, one team on a list of options that may also include a move to Jaguar, Toyota or BAR as well as remaining at Jordan if their fortunes improve.

"I went to see the new wind tunnel which is amazing, maybe it is the best now in Formula One," Fisichella said at last weekend's British Grand Prix. "It's not finished yet...but they look like a nice team - it's not McLaren, Williams or Ferrari but they have got the Ferrari engine which is maybe good for the future.

"I've not signed, I didn't talk about contracts or anything but it could be one option for next year.

"BAR, Jaguar, Toyota... I have to talk and see the best options not just for next year but especially for the future," he added. "Even Jordan could be good if they have the Mercedes engine and there is a possibility to go to McLaren in 2005."

Drivers' Driver

Meanwhile Fisichella, voted the "Drivers' Driver" by his peers in this year's Formula One awards, spends much of his time battling at the back.

Acclaimed by many insiders as one of the sport's top drivers, his season has had just one high - an unexpected win in Brazil in a crash-strewn and rainswept race cut short while he was leading. But there have been plenty of lows.

Asked which he considered the worst, Fisichella smiled as he replied bleakly: "Now. The last couple of races. The next one. Already the next one."

The Roman is managed by Enrico Zanarini, old friend of former Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine, and there has been much speculation about his future but little action.

Ferrari have Schumacher under contract to the end of 2006 while Brazilian Rubens Barrichello's seat is confirmed to the end of next year.

Media speculation has suggested that Fisichella could join Ferrari's test driver Felipe Massa at Sauber where the two men could be compared to one another in an effective shoot-out for the Ferrari seat when it becomes available.

There have also been rumours that McLaren's partners Mercedes could provide Jordan with engines and use that team to try out future driver options.

"I just want to race with a team with a possibility to move in 2005 into one of the best teams," said Fisichella. "If it's not possible then maybe I will stay two or three years with the same team.

"I hope it can be Ferrari. It's my target. The car is very good and maybe now is the time to give the car to an Italian driver," he said.

Fisichella, a Roma fan, plays soccer with Schumacher and he rejected a suggestion that the five-times champion might not want him as a teammate.

"Why not? He's not the owner of Ferrari," he said. "Maybe he wants me because I've got a good friendship with him and it looks like Michael will stop in 2006. Maybe it's a good time to have me and him in the team."

Very Frustrating

The veteran of 118 races said he would be prepared to spend a year as a test driver if it led to a place at Ferrari in 2005.

"It is not just passion," he said. "I really want to drive a good car, I want to win. It could be McLaren or Ferrari but I want the option to go there."

Despite providing him with the only win of his career, Jordan have disappointed. The team are short of cash and sacrifices have had to be made.

"It is very, very frustrating because after many years in Formula One and after a few seasons like this one it's quite tough," said Fisichella. "The problem is that I cannot see a good future for this year, the development is just stalled. Maybe we will have some new parts in Monza or America. Maybe for the last race... or maybe not at all. So I am very disappointed for that."

Fisichella said this year was proving worse than his 2001 ordeal at Benetton, when he struggled near the back of the grid. "The start of the season was worse with Benetton but then we had a very good development," he said. "From the middle of the season to the end it was quite competitive. Here it's getting worse and worse."

Asked how he kept motivated, Fisichella replied: "I don't know. The win in Brazil has been very important for me. But now I am just disappointed. It's just a bad period and it's going to be even worse for the next race."

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