Team Profiles: SAUBER

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 September, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 September, 2004, 12:00am

Switzerland's Sauber have been building racing cars for 30 years, hitting the headlines when Peter Sauber built a prototype for Le Mans in 1985 with a Mercedes engine. They started in F1 in 1993, with Finnish driver JJ Lehto scoring fifth in the team's debut race at Kyalami in South Africa. In the history of F1, only four newcomers before Sauber had been able to grace their debut with a points-finish.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen replaced him in 1994 and Sauber have basically languished a little since then, sliding into mid-table where they seem to be somewhat stuck.

Giancarlo Fisichella's career started in Melbourne in 1996 and he has contested 123 Grands Prix. The Italian won his first Grand Prix in chaotic circumstances at his 110th start in last year's Brazilian Grand Prix when driving for Jordan. Race stewards, in an unprecedented decision, overturned the result declaring McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen the winner, after discovering a timing discrepancy. 'Fisi' won the driver's driver prize at the 2002 F1 awards, but has never made it into a top team. The driver merry-go-round will see him at Renault next season.

Felipe Massa is another of the young guns who have joined the ranks of F1 drivers. He has the talent but lacks consistency and experience, many commentators say. Others say Ferrari are grooming the youngster as a replacement for when Schumi retires but Massa needs to prove himself if he is to get behind the wheel of a red car. Sauber are managed by Jean Todt's son.