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DE LA ROSA TIPPED FOR MINARDI? [Thu., Oct.9, 1997, 4:20PM EDT]

Recent reports that 1997 Formula Nippon champion Pedro de la Rosa could be headed to Minardi have strengthened today with Giancarlo Minardi's comments after today's press conference announcing they will use Ford engines next season. Minardi failed to rule out such a possibility when asked about the talented Spanish driver.

Repsol Oil, which is a personal de la Rosa, announced last Monday that it was planning to enter Formula One in 1998 as a fuel supplier. Minardi, which this year has had to do it's own fueling, is believed to be the team that will gain Repsol's services. Repsol is believed to want to take Pedro de la Rosa along with them, but he is rumored to be looking for a drive with a better team, or possibly waiting until 1999 to move on to F1.

Minardi has had talks with de la Rosa, and they have not yet confirmed any driver for next season. A driver of his caliber and low cost have had Minardi clamoring to get him aboard.