Atlas F1 News Service

Sauber Determined to Keep Raikkonen and Heidfeld

Monday August 20th, 2001

Peter Sauber has suggested he would only allow Kimi Raikkonen to leave his team to go to Ferrari if the Italian team provided the Swiss outfit with free engines.

"If Ferrari want Kimi Raikkonen they can have him if they give us free engines in exchange," Sauber told Sports.com.

Sauber are enjoying their most successful season since they decided to make their Formula One debut back in 1993, having scored points in eight of the thirteen races so far this year, and holding on to fourth place in the Constructors' Championship in front of both the Honda "works" teams BAR and Jordan.

Sauber has repeatedly admitted a big part of their success this season was down to his drivers - Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld - who have impressed with their performances so far. Raikkonen, making his Grand Prix debut this year, has been linked with a switch to Ferrari in the future, but Sauber is determined to keep his drivers in 2002 and beyond.

"We are going to keep both Kimi and Nick next year," he added. "And we have every intention of keeping them as long as possible to build on the success of this year."

The Swiss owner admitted hiring Raikkonen - who had competed in 23 single-seater races before his debut - and Heidfeld - who had endured a dismal debut with Prost in 2000 - was a calculated risk.

"It was a risk bringing them here to many people but not to me," he said. "It's wonderful to see their success but I am not surprised. Nick has a had a lot of experience in Formula 3000 and I always knew Kimi would be very fast, though perhaps not at this level. Both have competed equally well this season and the team will continue in that format."

Published at 16:38:02 GMT



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