The last word... for now

With the sale of the Minardi F1 Team to Red Bull GmbH due to be concluded on Monday, October 31, the Team Principal for the past five years, Paul Stoddart, today issues the following statement:

"As the time for the handover of the team to its new owners approaches, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Minardi staff, both on the race team and at the factory, in Italy and the UK, for their support over the last five years, and for the incredible job they have done, given the available resources."

"I would also like to thank all those who have driven for us in 2005 -- Patrick Friesacher, Christijan Albers, Robert Doornbos, Chanoch Nissany and Enrico Toccacelo -- for their valuable contribution to the team."

"I would particularly like to single out Robert for the fine job he has done in what might best be described as difficult circumstances. He only joined the team at the 12th round, in Hockenheim, and despite not having driven the Minardi Cosworth PS05 previously or taken part in a Grand Prix, he settled in quickly, got to grips with the car and the team, and was soon on the pace."

"In the eight rounds in which he competed for us, he displayed a high level of driving skill, a consistently positive attitude and excellent technical ability. In fact, despite his relatively short time with us, there is no doubt Robert's feedback made a significant contribution to the development of the new car."

"I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to our engine partner, Cosworth, to our commercial and technical partners, and to the thousands of Minardi fans around the world, for their unconditional support of the hard-trying little team from Faenza over the years."

"Finally, I want to thank Gian Carlo Minardi. Unless he had possessed the vision and the bravery to strike out into Formula One in the first place, and the resilience to deal with the innumerable problems and difficulties that arose along the way, the team would undoubtedly have suffered the same fate as many well-known, and frequently better funded organisations, and simply fallen by the wayside."

"Regrettably, the Minardi name will now disappear from the sport, but I firmly believe the competitive spirit that has burned brightly within this team for the past 21 years will live on under its new owners."

-minardi-