Motor Racing: Brundle is unseated by Patrese

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S Martin Brundle is hoping he can keep his Formula One career in the ascendancy with a move to McLaren-Honda or Williams-Renault next season. His expected dismissal from Benetton-Ford was confirmed yesterday with the announcement that he will be replaced in the team by Riccardo Patrese.

The Italian, surplus to requirements at Williams after helping them to the constructors' championship, signed a two-year contract at Monza, where he is testing in preparation for his home grand prix on Sunday week.

Benetton also took the opportunity to reconfirm that Michael Schumacher will drive for them in 1993, thereby fending off any attempt by McLaren to lure him away.

McLaren have lost Gerhard Berger to Ferrari and may lose the three-times world champion, Ayrton Senna, who says he is likely to take a year's sabbatical. Brundle, having recovered from a shaky start to the season with consistent performances, believes he has the ability and experience the deposed champions requires. He said: 'I would have liked to stay with Benetton but now I can't I hope to be with a better team.'

The only team currently higher than Benetton in the standings are Williams, and Brundle will be aware that the seat of the world champion, Nigel Mansell, might be available. Alain Prost has the other, even if his deal has not been formally sealed, but the Williams- Mansell impasse continues. 'It's just the usual financial stand-off,' Frank Williams, the managing director, said.

Brundle could have competition from his former Brabham team-mate, Mark Blundell, McLaren's test driver and former test driver at Williams, if either team seek a Briton.

Patrese said: 'I believe Benetton are the team best equipped, technically, to compete with Williams next season.'