Yesterday evening Brand Motorsport distributed a press release saying they had fired Nicolas Minassian from their F3000 team due to unacceptable conduct from the Frenchman, but this is clearly not the case.
Minassian has categorically denied these claims and would like to make it clear to the motorsport community that immediately following the Barcelona test session, the week before the race in Imola, he expressed concerns regarding the team's preparation for the season.
"I thought that as Brand Motorsport was essentially a new team, that they were under-prepared to compete at this level," commented Minassian. "If it wasn't for Martin Kendrick's heartfelt request for me to compete, I would not have been in Imola at all that weekend."
Immediately following the first round of the F3000 Championship, Minassian quit the team. "I was not under contract to the team," he said. "When I joined Brand they had an experienced level of staff supporting the team, but a few weeks prior to the first race they left."
Minassian felt a certain responsibility to Kendrick and therefore agreed to take part, now he feels disappointed in his public treatment by the team.
"I don't understand why Martin is being so vociferous to me, I thought we had a good working relationship, I even helped him to find a new engineer. I find his comments disrespectful and hurtful at the very least."
It certainly appears that with a new team, undergoing staff problems and in some disarray so early into the new season that Minassian has, in effect, become the scapegoat for their shortcomings.
Minassian has signed a new contract to compete in Le Mans with Pescarolo Sport -- PS2/Courage Peugeot and is confident that this slur on his character will be counteracted by his performance on track.