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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 15:33 GMT
Heinz-Harald Frentzen

Heinz-Harald Frentzen has called time on his Formula One career after a lengthy period of death throes.

The German has been dropped by Sauber at the end of an anonymous season, and rather than try to struggle on with a back-of-the-grid team has opted to continue his career in touring cars.

Frentzen will be remembered as a man who never quite made the most of a brilliant natural talent.

His big chance was at Williams in 1997, but for a variety of reasons - a lack of chemistry with the team management, an inability to deal psychologically with Jacques Villeneuve's pace - it did not work out.

Born: 18/5/67
Nationality: German
First GP: Brazil 1994
Wins: 3
2003 position: 11th
Previous teams: Sauber, Williams, Jordan, Prost, Arrows
Instead his golden age come in the unlikely surroundings of Jordan, with whom he mounted a most unexpected title challenge in 1999.

He was brilliant that year - quick, consistent and calm.

Even then there were doubts about his desire to succeed, but to win two races and come third in the championship is an achievement that no Jordan driver is ever likely to match for the foreseeable future.

Frentzen began to come unstuck when Jarno Trulli joined the team in 2000 and the languid German found it increasingly difficult to live with the Italian's one-lap pace.

Even so, he hardly deserved to be fired mid-way through the 2001 season, a decision that Eddie Jordan has yet to satisfactorily explain.

Since then, Frentzen has been through a tough time and in many ways may be glad to see it come to an end.

He moved first to fast-going-bankrupt Prost in 2001, before moving on the following year to Arrows, who were in a similar shape.

A return to Sauber this season might have been like coming home, but the car was poor and things did not go well.

Fortunately, Frentzen, a likeable man with a laconic sense of humour and a sometimes elegant turn of phrase, will be remembered as a better man and a better driver than he has been able to show in 2003.

F1 2003

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