Patrick Friesacher is facing the prospect of losing his Minardi race seat, perhaps as soon as Hockenheim, due to financial problems with sponsors. The Austrian's seat has been rumoured to be on rocky ground for some time and Minardi boss Paul ...
Patrick Friesacher is facing the prospect of losing his Minardi race seat, perhaps as soon as Hockenheim, due to financial problems with sponsors. The Austrian's seat has been rumoured to be on rocky ground for some time and Minardi boss Paul Stoddart confirmed Friesacher could soon depart.
"Patrick being replaced at the next race is a strong possibility because of sponsorship money not being paid," Stoddart told Reuters. A decision is expected after the weekend but Stoddart did not name a replacement for Friesacher.
He said three drivers were under consideration -- speculation has it that former Minardi racer Zsolt Baumgartner, who visited the team at the French Grand Prix, is a possibility, along with Jordan's third driver Robert Doornbos. Who the other might be is uncertain.
Friesacher joined the Faenza squad for 2005 when Nicolas Kiesa, who raced for the team in 2003, failed to find the financial backing to secure the race seat. Friesacher has had a troubled season on track, but scored three points at Indianapolis when only six cars took park.
Baumgartner was test driver for Jordan and competed in two Grands Prix with the team in 2003, Monza and Hungary, before moving to Minardi for 2004. Doornbos has been Jordan's third driver since the Chinese GP last season and has yet to compete in a race.
Kiesa may be in the frame as the third option but Stoddart is also interested in a Turkish driver, believed to be Can Artam who currently races in the GP2 series. The Minardi boss said he had talked to a Turkish driver about racing in the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul in August.