Sauber rules out driver swap

Team boss Peter Sauber has ruled out the possibility of an early swap between Jacques Villeneuve and Giancarlo Fisichella - even though both drivers are perfectly placed to make an immediate change to the teams they will be racing for in 2005

Sauber rules out driver swap

Renault was understood to have made an attempt to lure Fisichella from Sauber for the final three races of the year in the immediate wake of it splitting with Jarno Trulli, but that move was scuppered because of resistance from the Swiss team.

And although the French manufacturer subsequently agreed a deal with former world champion Villeneuve for the final three races, speculation has still continued of a possible early swap between the French-Canadian and Fisichella before the end of the campaign. It has been fuelled by the fact that Villeneuve has also agreed to join Sauber next year, with Fisichella already confirmed at Renault from the start of 2005.

However, a driver-swap scenario has been completely dismissed by Sauber - who told Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell on Tuesday that his driver line-up will remain unchanged for the rest of the season.

When asked about a swap, Sauber said: "We thought about that, but then we figured it might be better to finish the season with Giancarlo."

Sauber has spoken openly about his decision to sign Villeneuve and he is convinced he will be able to temper the former world champion's acknowledged wild side.

"I know that he is a driver with rough edges," said Sauber. "And there is of course potential for trouble. But I see much more potential for a huge challenge to rise and grow with him.

"We have worked with a various mixture of drivers in F1 and Jean Alesi, for instance, was also not known to be easy to work with. We still did."

He added: "We are a team which has an image of a very good relationship with drivers and we think we will get along fine. I know it is a risk, but it is much more a challenge. But still I believe that the two coming years will be the toughest since joining F1 in 1993."

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