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Fisichella Goes to Benetton and Alesi to Sauber!

17 September 1997

Andrew Frankl European
Bureau Chief

Shock news from London-Jordan, who were expecting to retain the services of young Italian ace Giancarlo Fisichella lost their case in the High Court. The judge ruled that his services were merely loaned by Benetton for 1997 to Eddie Jordan's team and that their star driver was indeed their property.Bad luck for Eddie,very good news for Benetton where momentous changes are taking place. Flavio Briatore is leaving the team and his place will be taken by Dave Richards,an exceptionally talented British businessman/ car enthusiast.

Richards already runs the highly successful Subaru rally team and also Honda's touring car challange in Britain.

He will start next year with rising Austrian star-Alex Wurz and Giancarlo Fisichella who nearly won a couple of times already this year.All he needs now is a good car and a good engine to replace the one Renault have been providing.Knowing Dave he will get one.

Jean Alesi-pole winner and second place man in Italy a few days ago finally managed to get himself a good drive-he will Johnny Herbert's team-mate at Sauber. As the Swiss car is powered by a Ferrari engine Jean will get a huge reception where ever he goes.It looked for a while as though he might be dropping out of the F1 picture,I am delighted that he is not. Certainly pole position in Italy did no harm to his chances whatsoever! All of which leaves Eddie Jordan in a little bit of a quandry. He keeps crasher of the year Ralf Schumacher- a title he hopes to lose next year I am sure- and he now has a chance to hire Damon Hill unless Alain Prost gets him in the meantime.

As always, when the news breaks you will be the first to know.