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Home > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report

Fisichella close to joining Renault

July 27, 2004 19:09 IST

Sauber driver Giancarlo Fisichella is close to joining Formula One rivals Renault, the Italian's manager said on Tuesday.

"The signature is not officially down yet so you can never say it is sure in this sport," said Enrico Zanarini. "When it is going to be official, I don't know, but it is up to the team to announce.

"The contract has to be signed and certified and option dates have to be matched and so on but in general we have been offered deals that are absolutely fine with what we wanted."

British media reported on Tuesday that Fisichella had already joined the Anglo-French team, who have said they will make an announcement later in the week.

The 31-year-old was targeted earlier in the year by Williams, who will lose Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya to McLaren-Mercedes and German Ralf Schumacher to Toyota for 2005.

A place is available at Renault next year alongside Spain's Fernando Alonso after Jarno Trulli said at last weekend's German Grand Prix he would leave the team at the end of the season. Trulli is expected to join Ralf Schumacher at Toyota.

Fisichella drove for Benetton from 1998 to 2001 before the team changed its name to Renault but was replaced by Trulli and joined Jordan in 2002, with whom he won his first Grand Prix last year in Brazil.

He joined Swiss-based Sauber at the start of the year with a clause in his contract that allowed him to move if a higher-ranked team became interested in his services.

He has scored 13 points for Sauber this year, with a best finish of fourth place in the Canadian Grand Prix in June and is 10th in the drivers' championship.

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