KL Minardi are fighting to survive as increasing financial difficulties threaten to prevent the team finishing the 2002 season. Boss Paul Stoddart recently closed the English side of the team and laid off staff but he said the continuing situation...
KL Minardi are fighting to survive as increasing financial difficulties threaten to prevent the team finishing the 2002 season. Boss Paul Stoddart recently closed the English side of the team and laid off staff but he said the continuing situation with Phoenix is costing him too much money. Phoenix tried to lay claim to Prost's position on the grid but were blocked by the FIA -- but while the arguments continue, Stoddart's approx £8 million due from television rights for finishing tenth in last year's championship is being withheld.
"We don't have the money to complete the season at the moment and we are almost at the second half of it so time is not on our side," said Stoddart. "It has dominated all my season. I have been very little involved in this team I have been fighting Phoenix since Melbourne. It is so, so wrong."
"It just drags on. Now another two months and another million dollars worth of costs...and to tell you the honest truth I am not sure if I want to continue playing the game any more, I am so, so sick of it. I think if this Phoenix thing goes to the next stage then I am really going to have to question my motivation for being here, I have had enough."
The Australian aviation businessman rescued Minardi from possible collapse just before the start of the 2001 season after the team lost a major sponsor. Despite their regular back-of-the-grid status, Minardi have a staunch following. Last year young Spanish star Fernando Alonso got himself noticed driving for the team and this year Minardi scored two points with Mark Webber's fifth in Australia to the delight of the driver and boss' countrymen. It remains to be seen if Stoddart can keep the team going or if the financial problems in F1 will claim another victim.