Minardi launches Arab driver initiative

European Minardi today announces that it has entered into a contractual agreement with Algerian driver, Nassim Sidi Saïd, whereby both parties will evaluate the possibility of assisting the motor racing career of a suitable Arab competitor with a...

European Minardi today announces that it has entered into a contractual agreement with Algerian driver, Nassim Sidi Saïd, whereby both parties will evaluate the possibility of assisting the motor racing career of a suitable Arab competitor with a view to an eventual debut in Formula One.

The Minardi team has traditionally been at the forefront of discovering and encouraging talented young racing drivers, many of whom have subsequently become established stars of the Grand Prix scene. It is for this reason the team has welcomed Sidi Saïd's plan to promote motor racing in his native Algeria, as well as in other Arab countries, through a young driver training scheme.

Under the arrangement, he will take charge of devising a suitable training and evaluation programme to facilitate the selection of the most promising Arab drivers and to assist them to progress into careers in motor racing. As a result of this new co-operative venture, Nassim Sidi Saïd may, in the future, be offered the opportunity to test a Minardi Formula One car.

Sidi Saïd is an ideal partner for Minardi in this important project. He is currently the only Arab driver competing at a high level of professional motor racing, and hence has first-hand knowledge of the challenges and requirements of the sport. He also speaks fluent Arab, French and English, and is therefore able to act as a highly credible representative for Minardi in Arab environments.

In addition to coordinating the activities of the driver training programme, Sidi Saïd will work with senior Minardi Commercial Department representatives to generate initiatives with a number of potential new Arab sponsors and partners.

"To be involved with Minardi is an excellent opportunity, as the team represents access to F1, which remains the top form of motor racing," says Sidi Saïd. "I've been working on this project for a few years now, the aim being to encourage activities related to motor racing in the Arab countries, while taking into particular consideration emerging young talent who could make their driving debut in F1 one day. Personally, I would love to be among the first of these potential F1 newcomers. I have the utmost confidence in the Minardi team, because it is guided by extremely professional people, and I am looking forward to our future co-operation."

Gian Carlo Minardi comments, "This collaboration paves the way to the frontiers of the Arab world, a relatively new geographical area for Formula One. It is clearly a market in search of new commercial and sporting challenges, something that Formula One, as the pinnacle of motor racing endeavour, is able to provide. I feel confident that Nassim Sidi Saïd's collaboration with the team will prove to be of valuable assistance, enabling European Minardi to commence the 2004 season with a renewed energy and sense of purpose that will allow it to move forward in terms of overall competitiveness."

European Minardi Cosworth Team Principal, Paul Stoddart, observes, "The team is pleased to have entered into this significant alliance with Nassim Sidi Saïd. We are very conscious that the launch of the inaugural Grand Prix of Bahrain, in 2004, will generate a notably increased awareness of, and interest in, Formula One in the Arab world, thereby significantly enhancing the sport's position as a global promotional vehicle."

"With this announcement, it is clear European Minardi aims to be at the forefront of such activities in the Middle East. In the same way that we have assisted the careers of other young drivers, we also look forward to providing Nassim with the chance to become the first Arab driver to gain first-hand experience of Formula One."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Paul Stoddart
Teams Minardi