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Heidfeld Open for Talks with Top Teams

Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld on Friday declared himself open for talks over a drive in 2003 with any of the top teams in spite of his current driver contract with McLaren-Mercedes.

German Heidfeld was overlooked by the Woking-based team last year when they picked his Finnish teammate Kimi Raikkonen as a replacement for two-time World Champion Mika Hakkinen.

And although Heidfeld would not reveal when his tie-up with the Woking-based team will come to an end, he did insist that he is not solely holding out for a place alongside his former team-mate at McLaren.

"There is still a contract with McLaren-Mercedes and it was quite long-term," said Heidfeld. "But now it is not so long anymore and I am not only focussing for McLaren-Mercedes.

"I am sure they will look again at what they are going to do for next year and you never know what is going to happen. But there are plenty of drivers available and we don't know if Mika is going to come back. For me the best thing would be to go to the strongest team, no matter what name it is."

Heidfeld has put in some impressive performances this season alongside his new hotly-tipped teammate Felipe Massa and has outqualified the young Brazilian in the last three races.

He finished with three more points than Raikkonen last year and, with two points to Massa's one so far this season, he is keen to put the defence of Sauber's fourth place in the World Championship ahead of thoughts for 2003.

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