F1

Minardi vacancy attracting interest

Although the yet-to-be-decided race seat at Williams continues to attract the majority of speculation, the vacancy at Minardi is becoming source of interest. There are a few drivers hoping for the chance to be teammate to the newly-signed...

Although the yet-to-be-decided race seat at Williams continues to attract the majority of speculation, the vacancy at Minardi is becoming source of interest. There are a few drivers hoping for the chance to be teammate to the newly-signed Christijan Albers for 2005, some who have previously raced in F1 and some who have not.

Minardi announced that Albers would race for the team just before Christmas but a decision on the second seat is not expected until January. Former Jordan driver Giorgio Pantano is looking for an opportunity with the Faenza based squad.

Pantano was dropped by Jordan before the end of the 2004 season due to sponsorship problems but the Italian believes he can prove his worth. "I think I still have plenty to show, something I never got the chance to do at Jordan," he said. "Minardi has boosted a lot of drivers' careers so it's something I want to look at."

Renault test driver Franck Montagny is also linked with Minardi. The Frenchman admitted that he is in talks with the team but financial considerations could present problems. "I am still in contact with Minardi but it's a team that has some financial requirements," he said.

"The finances therefore come first and if everything goes well in that regard, then they will be able to choose which driver they want to hire. If so, the probability of me joining the team is good, but it will be very difficult."

Jeffery van Hooydonk, who raced in F3000 this year, is not hopeful of getting the race seat just yet but would be interested in the test driver role. The Belgian tried out a Minardi at Misano in November and is reportedly in talks with the team for a test position next year, with a view to race in 2006.

Minardi tested several drivers at Misano, including Pastor Maldonado, Australians Will Davison and Will Power, Tiago Monteiro and Patrick Friesacher. Nicolas Kiesa, who raced for Minardi in 2003, was also behind the wheel at Misano but which, if any, of the hopefuls will get a drive is still unknown.

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