Felipe Massa

Ferrari's Brazilian test driver Felipe Massa will return to Sauber in 2004 alongside Italian Giancarlo Fisichella, Peter Sauber said.

Sauber has signed Fisichella from Jordan and told German drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Nick Heidfeld that their contracts will not be renewed.

The boss told a news conference before the Japanese Grand Prix that 22-year-old Massa would, as expected, race again for the team that gave him his debut last year.

"I have fought for two years to drive with Giancarlo Fisichella," said Sauber.

"We had one year with Felipe Massa, he was fast but a little bit young, not a lot of experience especially on the technical side.

"Now he has improved very well with Ferrari, he's done a lot of mileage and learned a lot on the technical side and now we will drive again with him."

Neither of the outgoing drivers have places for 2004 and Frentzen said he was weighing up his options, with the possibility of joining another team.

"There are some options which I am considering at the moment that I could do, driving with another team next year and I could also leave Formula One and do another championship," he said.

Frentzen also referred to Sauber's 'future manufacturer' but his team boss said he did not know what the driver might be referring to.

Sauber use Ferrari engines, paid for by Malaysian backer Petronas whose name appears on them. "I heard that, but which new manufacturer? Volkswagen for example?," said Sauber when asked about Frentzen's comments. "No, I don't know why he said that."