The Spyker F1 team has confirmed that Christijan Albers will no longer race for them in the 2007 FIA Formula 1 World Championship - as predicted by on Monday.

According to a statement by the Silverstone-based outfit though it has nothing to do with his performance - or lack of performance, relative to his rookie team-mate, Adrian Sutil, rather it is due to 'commercial difficulties' and the fact one of Albers' main personal sponsors continues to stay in default.

"This has been a very difficult decision," explained team boss, Colin Kolles. "Christijan has started to find some form in the car, but the team's ambitious development programme has been seriously compromised by non-payment by one of his sponsors and we are faced with no other option."

Spyker F1 director, Michiel Mol meanwhile echoed those sentiments and emphasised that Albers' exit has nothing to do with his on-track form, something that has come under fresh scrutiny recently, especially after he drove out of the pit-lane at Magny Cours two weeks ago with the refuelling hose still attached to his car, hastening his retirement from the race.

"The decision to replace Christijan is one of the hardest I have had to take since becoming involved in the team," Mol continued. "By terminating the contract with Christijan and the subsequent entering into a new contract it enables Spyker F1 Ltd. to safeguard its strong financial footing needed to fulfil its technical and commercial goals. We do not expect this will have any adverse effect on Spyker F1's financial result this year.

"We would also like to stress this decision has nothing to do with Christijan's recent performances - we still have faith in his contribution as a driver - but the long-term future of the team is of paramount importance. We would like to thank Christijan for his input and wish him every success in the future."

Who will replace Albers' was not confirmed, the team noting that 'an announcement on his replacement and the financial conditions will be made in due course'.

A number of drivers' are said to be in the frame to step into the now vacant seat, including Honda third driver, Christian Klien, who is one of the favourites, as well as Ferrari tester, Marc Gene and Williams tester, Narain Karthikeyan, although the latter is believed to be more likely to replace the recovering Ernesto Viso at GP2 outfit Racing Engineering.

More to follow as and when it happens...



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