Wednesday February 21st, 2001
Brazilian Tarso Marques' experience of Formula One landed him the second seat with Minardi, team boss Paul Stoddart said on Wednesday.
Marques had a two-year spell with the Faenza-based team in 1996 and 1997 and Stoddart revealed that the driver's experience prompted Minardi to hand him a return to Formula One.
"After considerable deliberation on the issue of European Minardi's second driver, we have decided that Tarso best fulfils our requirement to have a pair of young drivers, one preferably with Formula One experience," said Stoddart.
"There is the added benefit that he has driven for Minardi in the recent past, and therefore knows the team well."
The 25-year-old Brazilian has spent the last two years in the American Champ Car series, racing in the same field as BMW-Williams new boy Juan Pablo Montoya.
He will now return to Formula One to team up with 19-year-old Fernando Alonso, and Stoddart believes they will form a good team.
"I'm very pleased with our 2001 line-up," said Stoddart. "I think he [Marques] and Fernando will form a strong pairing."
Italian Gianni Morbidelli was the initial top target for the second Minardi seat.