- Auto Racing - Bernoldi comes over from Sauber

Friday, February 2
Bernoldi comes over from Sauber

LONDON -- Brazilian Enrique Bernoldi will drive for the Arrows Formula One team this season in place of Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa, the team said on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old was Sauber's test driver last year but was passed over at the Swiss-based team in favor of inexperienced Finnish newcomer Kimi Raikkonen.

Bernoldi will partner Dutchman Jos Verstappen at Arrows.

Verstappen, 28, returned to the team last season and helped them to seventh place overall with his five points.

De la Rosa scored two points last season but his position, after two seasons at the team, looked doubtful when Arrows delayed its driver announcement and Bernoldi was given track time in testing in Barcelona.

"We are pleased with our lineup for 2001," said Arrows team principal Tom Walkinshaw.

"We have a strong experienced driver in Jos and some young blood with Enrique. It should prove an interesting combination.

"We have been pleased with the feedback and maturity shown by Enrique when testing the car so far and look forward to watching him develop as an F1 driver."

Walkinshaw thanked de la Rosa for his commitment over the past two seasons and wished him well.

The 2001 season starts in Melbourne with the Australian Grand Prix on March 4.

Arrows have something of a reputation for switching drivers at a late stage in the game, with Finland's Mika Salo losing his place at the team in 1999 to Japan's financially well-backed Tora Takagi in the week before the opening race.

The 29-year-old de la Rosa's only hope of a drive in 2001 is now with traditional tail-enders Minardi which announced on Tuesday it had been bought by Australian businessman Paul Stoddart.

The team has yet to name any drivers but are expected to take on young Spanish driver Fernando Alonso.

For Bernoldi, the Arrows drive was third time lucky after being pipped for seats at both Sauber and Prost.

"I signed the contract on Friday and I will be one of the main drivers," Brazil's Agencia Estado quoted him as saying. "I think it will be a surprise for lots of people."

"From the start the negotiations were based on a full drive and not just testing," Bernoldi said.

"I got to know the set up in Leafield and was very impressed with the structure of the team, much more so than with Sauber. My aim in my first season in Formula One is to get some points on some of the circuits."

Bernoldi is a former Brazilian kart champion and European Formula Renault champion.

He has raced in British Formula Three, where he was runner-up in 1998 ahead of compatriot Luciano Burti who is now driving for Jaguar in Formula One, and in Formula 3000 for the past two seasons.

Arrows have yet to unveil their 2001 version car, the A22, which will be powered by an Asian Motor Technologies (AMT) engine based on the Peugeot one used by Prost last year.


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Formula One driver lineups for 2001