Red Bull finalises Minardi deal

Since Monza the rumours have been rife that Red Bull was in the process of taking over Minardi and the confirmation came on September 10th at Spa. Red Bull will acquire 100% of the shares in Minardi from November 1st this year and will take over the ...

Red Bull finalises Minardi deal

Since Monza the rumours have been rife that Red Bull was in the process of taking over Minardi and the confirmation came on September 10th at Spa. Red Bull will acquire 100% of the shares in Minardi from November 1st this year and will take over the running of the team. Paul Stoddart always maintained he would sell Minardi if the right buyer came along.

His criteria was for someone who could make the team more competitive and that Minardi would remain based in Italy with a stable future for the personnel. "After detailed discussions with Dr Mateschitz's representatives, I am satisfied that Red Bull meets all of these criteria, and on that basis, I have agreed to sell the team," said Stoddart.

Minardi was founded by Gian Carlo Minardi in 1979 and entered F1 in 1985. The team, which was run by Flavio Briatore, now Renault's managing director, in the mid-ninties, was taken over by Stoddart in 2001. Drivers such as Jarno Trulli, Giancarlo Fisichella, Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso all started their F1 careers with Minardi.

"I want to thank everyone at Minardi for their unflagging support over the five years of my ownership," Stoddart added. "It may be the smallest team currently on the Formula One grid, but it definitely possesses the largest heart."

"It would be entirely fitting, and not beyond the realms of possibility, to see Fernando Alonso, who started his career with Minardi in 2001, crowned as the youngest-ever Formula One World Drivers' Champion here tomorrow."

Red Bull has more drivers than it knows what to do with and taking over Minardi gives a few more cockpits to go around. David Coulthard is already confirmed at Red Bull Racing for 2006 and the team also has Christian Klien, Tonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed under contract.

Red Bull has not confirmed drivers for the so-called "rookie" team but rumour has it that Liuzzi and Speed will take the race duties at whatever Minardi becomes, while Klien will partner Coulthard at the already established team. The idea is for the two squads to operate independently of one another and be in direct competition with each other.

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