F1 »

Ferrari test role counted against Fisichella, admits Sauber

Sauber team owner Peter Sauber has explained just what it was that earned Pedro de la Rosa the second seat alongside Kamui Kobayashi at Hinwil in F1 2010 over rivals Giancarlo Fisichella and Nick Heidfeld...
Peter Sauber has acknowledged that both Giancarlo Fisichella and Nick Heidfeld were strong candidates for the second F1 2010 seat at his eponymously-named operation that ultimately went the way of Pedro de la Rosa – but he revealed that the former's Ferrari testing duties and the latter's familiarity counted against the pair.

About a week prior to de la Rosa's official confirmation alongside star 2009 debutant Kamui Kobayashi at Hinwil for the forthcoming campaign, it was widely-believed that the Spaniard was in competition with the two former Sauber drivers for the berth – and the Barcelona native's subsequent recruitment was greeted with some cynicism by the media, given that not only has he not actively competed in the top flight since 2006, but even when he did race, he was generally not regarded as highly as either Fisichella or Heidfeld.

Money, the sceptics have argued, must have secured the 38-year-old long-time McLaren-Mercedes test driver and Zurich resident the position – and leading Spanish bank Santander has since admitted that it is financially backing the signing [see separate story – click here] – but there were other considerations that ultimately played in his favour and played Fisichella and Heidfeld out of the reckoning, Sauber confirms.

“We were not a B-team, but there would have been a certain dependency,” the 66-year-old Swiss businessman told Motorsport Aktuell, alluding to the pressure being applied on him by engine-supplier Ferrari to employ the Scuderia's test driver Fisichella, who partnered Felipe Massa at Sauber back in 2004. “If something went wrong with one of the race drivers, Fisichella would have been sitting in the Ferrari – that would have been very bad for us.

“Nick was with us for seven years, [but] I wanted to make a new start, and that would not have worked out with him.”

After being snubbed by Sauber, McLaren and Mercedes Grand Prix, Heidfeld now looks increasingly likely to be appointed as reserve driver by one of the latter two outfits, unless the 32-year-old proves successful in securing the vacant berth at Renault F1 alongside ex-BMW team-mate Robert Kubica.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Peter Sauber (SUI), Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, Sepang, Kuala Lumpar, 21st-23rd, March 2008
28.04.2016 - Guenther Steiner (ITA) Haas F1 Team Prinicipal
28.04.2016 - Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16
28.04.2016 - Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Haas F1 Team VF-16
28.04.2016 - Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Haas F1 Team VF-16
28.04.2016 - Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
28.04.2016 - Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Ferrari reserve driver
28.04.2016 - Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
28.04.2016 - Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
28.04.2016 - Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
28.04.2016 - Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
28.04.2016 - Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16
28.04.2016 - Sergey Sirotkin (RUS) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16, Test Driver
28.04.2016 - (R) Gene Haas (USA), head of the Haas F1 Team
28.04.2016 - Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
28.04.2016 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
28.04.2016 - Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
28.04.2016 - Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

rerew - Unregistered

January 28, 2010 1:50 PM

I thought banks were supposed to be in dire straights, in these times of economical and financial crisis. As it seems, those friendly chaps at Santander must be swimming in money, they've managed to buy out not only Ferrari but also Sauber. Interesting.

Kobakazi - Unregistered

January 28, 2010 11:59 PM

At least De La Rosas Santander money will pay for Kamuis banzai attempts at honing his craft.(I'm a big Koba fan by the way,I just think he might get through a few carbon fibre and rubber add ons this year!)

© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.