Minardi hoping to retain Verstappen

Minardi hoping to retain Verstappen

Little Italian squad Minardi is hoping to retain the services of Jos Verstappen next year to have at least one experienced driver behind the wheel. Verstappen drove for Minardi in 2003 but was frustrated by the uncompetitve car and was hoping for...

Little Italian squad Minardi is hoping to retain the services of Jos Verstappen next year to have at least one experienced driver behind the wheel. Verstappen drove for Minardi in 2003 but was frustrated by the uncompetitve car and was hoping for a race seat at Jaguar next season. However, Christian Klien has nabbed that coveted spot and it seems Minardi is one of only two options available, Jordan being the other team yet to confirm drivers.

Jos Verstappen.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
"I'm hoping that we can retain Jos for next year and we are still in negotiations," Minardi boss Paul Stoddart told Reuters. "I think he's got a good chance of staying with us and it comes down to what he wants to do. Jos has got a lot left in him before he hangs up his spurs. I think he could do a lot worse than driving for us."

It seems sometime tester Gianmaria Bruni is being lined up for the other race seat but nothing has been confirmed yet. Former Minardi driver Justin Wilson is also in the frame and Stoddart would gladly have the Englishman back. But finances always play an important part for the cash-strapped Faenza team.

"I've got a bit of a soft spot for Justin," said Stoddart. "If I were in the position where the drive was going to go to someone who didn't have a full budget, he'd be top of my list."

Minardi is testing at Vallelunga this week with a list of young hopefuls getting try-outs. Jose Maria Lopez and Fabrizio Del Monte were on track yesterday and Heikki Kovalainen is scheduled to take part today. Narain Karthikeyan and Norbert Siedler are also lined up for a test. "There's one or two I want to have a good look at," said Stoddart. "One in particular has a real future."

Verstappen, meanwhile, although disappointed in losing the Jaguar seat, believes he will be on the grid next year. "It is disappointing that we were not able to conclude a deal," he said. "Not just for me but also for my sponsors who have done everything possible to get me that Jaguar seat."

"We are very confident that I will be on the grid in 2004. I don't have to convince anyone of my talent. With my service record and support of my sponsors I am sure we can do it."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jos Verstappen , Gianmaria Bruni , Paul Stoddart , Heikki Kovalainen , Christian Klien , Norbert Siedler , Jose Maria Lopez
Teams Minardi , Jordan