Minardi boss Paul Stoddart said at the Nurburgring today that the television revenue he believes rightfully belongs to the team has not been paid to him, despite reports to the contrary. He thinks a decision will be made at the European Grand Prix...
Minardi boss Paul Stoddart said at the Nurburgring today that the television revenue he believes rightfully belongs to the team has not been paid to him, despite reports to the contrary. He thinks a decision will be made at the European Grand Prix this weekend, hopefully tomorrow when another meeting will take place, but he is unhappy about what he sees as political games.
"The facts are simple," Stoddart said. "Not a penny has been forthcoming and there's yet another meeting at four o'clock tomorrow. We're being played with. I don't think there's any other words for it. We seem to be pawns in a rather big game of politics, which I don't feel very happy about at all. We need to be paid. If I can come out of that meeting tomorrow with the money paid, then I'll make an announcement that I had planned to make tonight that Minardi will continue for the rest of the year."
"If I'm shafted tomorrow, then I will certainly have a different opinion. I am not someone who cries wolf. This is the weekend to make a decision and it will be made this weekend, one way or the other. If we've been shafted, then I want no part of this paddock. That's pretty strong words but it's how I feel."
Stoddart confirmed that FIA president Max Mosley had given the go-ahead to Bernie Ecclestone to give him the money but other teams were blocking the payout: "There are a couple of team owners, in particular (Arrows' Tom) Walkinshaw and (McLaren's) Ron Dennis, who are incredibly upset and seem to think that they have some legal claim to this money. They just don't want to accept reality."
The Minardi boss also admitted that Ecclestone had lent the team money earlier in the season but said it was unrelated to the finances currently under debate: "He (Ecclestone) lent us money under a separate agreement at the start of the year, like he's done to many teams and still is doing to many teams," Stoddart remarked.
"You cannot confuse the two. What he lent, and there is proper security and a repayment programme against that, has absolutely sod all to do with the Concorde money. The agreement with Bernie at the start of the year was completely separate."
Stoddart thinks Ecclestone hasn't paid the commercial money yet as he's trying to get the team bosses to reach an agreement: "I suspect the reason we haven't had it (the money) is because he's hoping to have an amicable solution."