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Sauber in no hurry over Fisichella replacement 18 Aug 2004

Sauber team boss Peter Sauber (SUI) celebrates with Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, 9 May 2004.

Team boss Peter Sauber has insisted that he will not be making any hasty decisions regarding a 2005 replacement for the team’s star driver, Giancarlo Fisichella, who recently announced he is to return to Renault at the end of the season.

Fisichella has been in impressive form, scoring 14 of Sauber’s 19 points in 2004, prompting his move back to Renault, for whom he last drove in 2001 (when they were the Benetton team). But, despite losing the talented Italian, Sauber is confident there is plenty of time to find a suitable replacement.

“We're under no pressure whatsoever, that's why I'm taking my time,” said the Swiss team boss. “I've not even decided yet whether we will select a young talented or an experienced driver.”

With Sauber a strong sixth in the constructors’ championship there is unlikely to be any shortage of proven drivers eager to race for the team. BAR tester Anthony Davidson and DTM star Gary Paffett are among those having already been linked to a drive by the media.

“One thing is obvious: there's a huge interest in Sauber Petronas,” added Sauber. “For me this is a clear sign that we're a highly attractive team today.”

In the meantime, Sauber is confident that Fisichella’s commitment will stay at 100 per cent for the remainder of the season. “Giancarlo is a full-blooded racer with impeccable, professional conduct, and he's just shown that in Hungary again where he drove an excellent race,” he added. “I'm convinced he'll be clinching quite a few more good results for our team before the season is over.”