Fisi also in frame for Sauber seat

UPDATE (GMM) Pedro de la Rosa is no longer favorite to become Kamui Kobayashi's teammate at the Sauber team in 2010.

Jenson Button has revealed that he will not give McLaren's new MP4-25 its track debut because de la Rosa, 38, is scheduled to drive it at Valencia on February 1.

The news indicates that the Spaniard is staying put as the Woking based team's main test and reserve driver this year.

Giancarlo Fisichella

At the same time, the Swiss newspaper Blick reports that Giancarlo Fisichella flew briefly from Ferrari's winter media event in the Italian Dolomites to Sauber's Hinwil headquarters last Thursday.

The newspaper suggested that Sauber is under pressure from its new powertrain supplier Ferrari to give 2010 reserve driver Fisichella, 37, the vacant race seat.

The Roman veteran has contested more than 231 grands prix since 1996, including a season with Sauber in 2004.

01/05/10 (GMM) According to Spain's Diario AS, the only obstacle to Pedro de la Rosa returning to the F1 grid in 2010 is Giancarlo Fisichella.

The sports daily said Fisichella, the Roman veteran of the past 13 full seasons, is the only real alternative to de la Rosa as Sauber contemplates an experienced teammate for Kamui Kobayashi.

Peter Sauber revealed this week that a second driver has been signed, but revealed only that he is an "experienced man" who is arriving from another F1 team.

Fisichella, 36, was earlier signed as Ferrari's reserve driver for 2010, but he said it was possible he would combine the role with a race seat elsewhere.

AS said the pressure exerted by Ferrari, Sauber's new engine supplier, on the Hinwil based team to sign Fisichella is "very high".

Kimi Raikkonen told the German-language Red Bulletin this week that Fisichella struggled markedly with the 2009 Ferrari when he replaced Felipe Massa-substitute Luca Badoer last September.

"The car wasn't bad, it just had very little grip. Okay, it was difficult to drive, but I liked the 2009 Ferrari more than the 2008 one. I didn't cope too badly with it.

"In five races, however, Fisichella aged ten years," the Finn joked.

Germany's authoritative Auto Motor und Sport also said Fisichella, who drove for Sauber in 2004, is a possibility for the seat, while some other reports mention Christian Klien as yet another candidate.

Even though Peter Sauber's recent Twitter declaration turned out to be a fake, it remains likely that the 66-year-old Swiss will announce the identity of Kobayashi's teammate this week.

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