Tuesday February 6th, 2001
New Minardi owner Paul Stoddart is under no illusions for the upcoming season, after saving the small Italian outfit only a month before the first race of the year.
"I think we have to be realistic," Stoddart said. "I mean, we've been at this now for three weeks, and anyone who knows what it takes to get a Formula One team to the grid, knows that three weeks is an unrealistic timescale to do anything in Formula One.
"Our aims are realistic: we want to be a top 10 finisher this year, and I'm sure we will be."
Stoddart bought Minardi only a few days ago and it is still unclear what engine the team will use or who will drive for them. But the Australian businessman admitted his plans for Minardi are long-term.
"Clearly, our goal this year is to finish top 10. We want to drag the team up to a mid-field competitor in two or three years, and a higher mid-field competitor in four or five years, and anything beyond a five-year plan in Formula One is somewhat ambitious."