Renault eyes Fisichella switch

Renault is looking at the possibility of luring Giancarlo Fisichella away from Sauber before the end of the season to replace Jarno Trulli, but its plans will almost certainly be scuppered by resistance to the move from Peter Sauber

Renault eyes Fisichella switch

The French manufacturer wants to find a replacement for Trulli in the wake of his disappointing recent form. He has failed to score a point since the French Grand Prix in July and the team is desperate to regain its second place in the constructors' championship which it lost to BAR in Italy last weekend.

Although Jacques Villeneuve is still favourite to team up with Fernando Alonso from the Chinese Grand Prix, high-level sources have told autosport.com that Renault is pursuing the possibility of getting Fisichella released from his Sauber contract early. A decision needs to be taken by this evening to ensure that whoever replaces Trulli can test for Renault at Silverstone this week.

However, their plans may be scuppered by team boss Peter Sauber insisting that there are no circumstances in which he will let Fisichella go. A team spokesman said: "Giancarlo Fisichella will be driving the remaining races of the season for Sauber-Petronas."

Renault's interest in Fisichella is obvious, because the Italian already knows the outfit well from his previous time at the team. It would also give him a head start prior to him rejoining the French manufacturer in 2005.

Sauber is testing in Jerez this week with Felipe Massa scheduled to run for two days and Vitantonio Liuzzi due to take over on Thursday, which does not give the team any opportunity to test a possible replacement.

Villeneuve is already understood to have had a seat-fitting with Renault and he may be ready to test for the team at Silverstone on Wednesday

Although Trulli's departure from Renault now seems a foregone conclusion, it does not necessarily mean that he has competed in his last race of the season. It is believed that the Italian has been at Toyota's Cologne factory this week to discuss the future and he could be drafted in alongside Olivier Panis immediately.

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