Monday February 12th, 2001
European Minardi owner Paul Stoddart has eased fears over the future of the team and insisted that everything is in place for a bright future.
Stoddart revealed that the team have a budget to fund the entire season but the Australian businessman is still looking for a major sponsor.
"I have no fears about funding for this year," Stoddart said. "We are 75 per cent complete on a budget for the year, but we're still looking for a title sponsor.
"I believe we are the best value for money in Formula One at this late stage, and we have seven parties interested. This week will see many drop out, and we'll hopefully get one on-board."
Stoddart only took over the team at the start of January, and he has faced quite a challenge to build up funding for the team in such a short time. However, he believes that the money he already has will be enough to take step one on his long-term plan.
"We are realistic - we're not going to write cheques with our mouths," he said. "We have a five-year plan that is set in stone. In year one we want to summarise, stabilise, and rebuild, and in the next we will get an engine partner and climb up the field.
"In years three and four we will be in midfield, and hopefully get a works engine deal, and in year five we want to be regularly qualifying and finishing in the top-10."