Minardi to test Russian driver

Minardi are to test Russian driver Sergei Zlobin at Fiorano as part of an agreement with new sponsors Gazprom, a Russian gas company. Russia has never had a Formula One driver and Zlobin is currently driving in the European F3000 series. "I ...

Minardi are to test Russian driver Sergei Zlobin at Fiorano as part of an agreement with new sponsors Gazprom, a Russian gas company. Russia has never had a Formula One driver and Zlobin is currently driving in the European F3000 series.

"I suspect we'll be running him quite a bit next year," Stoddart told Reuters. "We will definitely be running him again in the November-December period and then if he's good enough we'll try to work with him. I'm quite prepared to put a lot of effort into him."

"If Giancarlo (Minardi) sees a bit of potential, we will do everything to give that kid every chance of making it all the way, if we can do it. Whether he is going to be just doing secondary testing or proper testing depends on where his ability is and what we have to do to lift him up to that."

Stoddart believes the deal with Gazprom, coupled with the Malaysian backers that Minardi have, has secured the team's future: "We are going to be here next year no matter what happens now," he commented. "I certainly couldn't have said that two months ago."

"It's funny what a difference a couple of months can make. Now Gazprom, a few other deals and suddenly we are back on our feet again. I see the Gazprom sponsorship as representing our engine budget for next year."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Minardi