Minardi troubles not over yet

The 2004 chassis that Minardi intends to use this weekend in Melbourne have passed scrutineering but it seems that the way is not yet clear for the team to race. Ferrari had not given its approval for the Minardis, which do not conform to this ...

The 2004 chassis that Minardi intends to use this weekend in Melbourne have passed scrutineering but it seems that the way is not yet clear for the team to race. Ferrari had not given its approval for the Minardis, which do not conform to this year's regulations, to compete and now Red Bull has also said it will not agree to the Faenza squad running the year-old cars.

Minardi was believed to have the agreement of eight teams to run its cars and just needed Ferrari's approval. But Red Bull sporting director Christian Horner has said that everyone must abide by the regulations. "I sympathise with his position but rules are rules," he commented in regard to Minardi boss Paul Stoddart, according to Reuters.

"They are there for a reason and we all have to abide by them. My position and that of Red Bull is that nothing would be more frustrating for us in a debut race to finish ninth with a Minardi ahead of us and a point taken from us."

The FIA said Minardi could race if all the other teams agreed. Stoddart has spoken to Ferrari's Jean Todt on the phone without resolving the issue, and he intends to make a further effort to win Todt round tonight. However, with Red Bull not approving either, Stoddart's task has become even harder.

Speculation has it that Ferrari's non-agreement is related to the ongoing dispute between itself and the other teams in regard to the future of the sport. Stoddart claimed that Ferrari is refusing to give its approval for Minardi to race for political reasons rather than sporting ones.

Reportedly Minardi does in fact have car body parts that comply to the new regulations -- but apparently only in development spec and not enough to run both cars. Stoddart said he is not prepared to take the chance on cars that are not complete and have not been tested properly.

Williams' Mark Webber, who debuted in F1 with Minardi in 2002 and finished fifth in Melbourne, hopes his former team will compete. "I will be very disappointed if Paul (Stoddart) is not racing here on Sunday," Webber remarked. "In terms of the politics, I don't really understand it all."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mark Webber , Paul Stoddart , Jean Todt
Teams Ferrari , Williams , Minardi