Stoddart hoping for top ten in Australia

Stoddart hoping for top ten in Australia

Paul Stoddart is not expecting a repeat of Minardi's fifth place in the Australian Grand Prix, as happened last year, but is hoping for a top ten finish. In 2002, Mark Webber finished a surprise fifth after a race of high attrition, mainly due to...

Paul Stoddart is not expecting a repeat of Minardi's fifth place in the Australian Grand Prix, as happened last year, but is hoping for a top ten finish. In 2002, Mark Webber finished a surprise fifth after a race of high attrition, mainly due to an opening lap crash which retired half the field before things even got started. Webber's points finish was the first for Minardi since 1999.

Paul Stoddart.
Photo by Mark Gledhill.
"I think it will be impossible to beat 2002," said Stoddart. "I think we used up all our favours from above last year. That Sunday was the proudest moment of my life. I think it would take a serious amount of topping as everything came right for us."

"It was something you couldn't write the script for, it was a fairytale come true. This year we just hope that we have a very credible race and hopefully we can get one or two cars in the top 10."

With rookie Justin Wilson and experienced campaigner Jos Verstappen as drivers this year, along with a supply of Cosworth engines and a switch to Bridgestone tyres, Stoddart thinks 2003 has Minardi's strongest package yet. So far, since he took over the team in 2001, the Australian says he has achieved what he's been aiming for.

"We're into year three of a five-year plan and so far, against all the odds, we have actually achieved our goals, so hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel. We're still on target for year three, which is to try and establish ourselves as a regular midfield team."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jos Verstappen , Mark Webber , Justin Wilson , Paul Stoddart
Teams Minardi