Stoddart to sell European Aviation

Stoddart to sell European Aviation

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has revealed he is selling his European Aviation company as it can no longer continue without support. Stoddart founded the company in 1989 but the Australian said since the terrorist attacks on America in September last...

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has revealed he is selling his European Aviation company as it can no longer continue without support. Stoddart founded the company in 1989 but the Australian said since the terrorist attacks on America in September last year European, like many other airlines, has been in difficulties.

Paul Stoddart.
Photo by Minardi Formula 1.
"I think every airline post September 11 has hit financial trouble," he told Australian radio station 3AW. "Many have succumbed to the pressure and we are at the moment concluding, we hope, a sale because we can no longer stand alone. We're only selling the airline, not the spares business as this is what over the years has made us a lot of money."

Stoddart believes that Minardi will stay in business though, the team boosted by its ninth place finish in the Constructors' championship this year. The future of Minardi often seemed unstable this season, Stoddart fighting for television rights and having to invest much of his own finances to keep the team afloat. Although Minardi was awarded the commercial income, some teams are still debating the decision and it has yet to be resolved.

Investment from Malaysia and new sponsorship from Russian gas company Gazprom this year have helped Minardi's fortunes but Stoddart is disappointed at lack of support from his home country.

"We really did bring on (Australian) Mark Webber, not just this year but when he needed a break in Formula 3000 as well. Now Australia's got their Formula One hero but we've had no support out of Australia which is sad for me personally."

Stoddart thinks the changes introduced by the Formula One Commission recently will help: "New rules which went through on Monday give us an enormous opportunity to earn money by running local drivers and local sponsors on the car," he said. "In the past test drivers perhaps haven't had so much of an opportunity to be shown in the world spotlight. Now we'll have two hours every Friday when they can showcase their talents to the world at large."

As for next year, Stoddart believes Minardi will be on the grid for the first race in Australia: "Obviously Formula One has gone to hell and back again this year," he commented. "But there were some pretty good things put through this week through the Formula One Commission and I think you'll find we'll be there in Melbourne."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mark Webber , Paul Stoddart
Teams Minardi