Friday February 16th, 2001
Giancarlo Minardi, whose team was faced with an uncertain future until Paul Stoddart came to its rescue, is relieved that the winter dealings are now over.
The Italian minnows debuted in 1985, but has had little success over its time in Formula One, and Minardi felt hard done by when it came to saving the team.
"A lot of people did their best to kill off the team," said Minardi. "I knocked on a lot of doors but found them closed, and the rumours circulating over my accord with [Paul] Stoddart did more harm than good."
Minardi admitted that although he is no longer at the helm of the Faenza-based team, he still has a strong heart for the team he created and can see success looming on the horizon.
"I continue to feel the team as my own, even though it no longer belongs to me," said Minardi. "Gabriele Rumi and I really wanted to save it, and we have managed to do so.
"That's the most important thing - we are still alive and kicking and about to tackle a new Formula One season."
Meanwhile, a team spokesperson admitted that the driver decision proposed for Friday had not been made. "We are still working on a shortlist, and we are hopeful for next week," the spokesperson said.
The team rubbished stories that the car will carry the colours of Collingwood Australian Rules team, the Magpies. "There will not be a magpie on the car," a spokesperson said.
"There will be black and white on it, but that is nothing to do with the Australian Football team."