Sauber put new drivers through their paces 21 Nov 2003
Sauber's Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa were in Austria this week for four days of intensive physical training ahead of the resumption of Formula One testing next Tuesday.
The programme, which took place in Seefeld near Innsbruck, was designed and implemented by Sauber team physiotherapists, Joseph Leberer and Helmut Fink.
Leberer and Fink designed the fitness plan specifically for Fisichella and Massa after comparing results of the drivers' previous medical examinations and blood tests with current findings.
Indoor climbing, tennis football and mountain walking were all on the agenda in order to enhance the co-ordination, physical strength and concentration of Sauber's 2004 pairing.
"I enjoyed the fitness camp very much," Fisichella said. "We did a lot of testing with very good results. I think this gave me a good start to my work with Sauber and I feel absolutely fit for my first test with my new team next week.
"It was also the first time that I went climbing! It was a great experience and good training for the hands and body. You really have to figure out the best and most feasible way to reach the goal and this makes it particularly challenging."
Massa said, on his return to the Sauber fold: "This fitness programme convinced me that I'm well prepared for the tests to come. We played tennis football, did power training, exercises for the neck and went swimming. The activities varied a lot and I enjoyed them very much."
Team manager Beat Zehnder, who accompanied the drivers, was impressed by their high standard of fitness. "Our drivers are already now at a very good level. Felipe has remarkably improved and has grown up since we last worked together.
"Giancarlo always had the reputation of being in good shape, and he proved this to the full. He is very pragmatic and has a very factual approach to the different tasks. It is fantastic to work with both of them and I am looking forward to the next season."
Fisichella will conduct his first test with Sauber from November 25 to 27 in Barcelona, while Massa will be on track at Jerez from December 8 to 10. Test driver Neel Jani will complete Sauber's programme for this year on December 11, again at Jerez.