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Minardi stays home

MINARDI looks like being the only F1 team which will not be testing between the South American races and the first European events. The M195B is, however, a tried and tested device, it being very little different from last year's M195 and its development possibilities are somewhat limited given Minardi's current financial state.

The team's efforts are therefore being focused on attracting new money and new engineers for next season and, hopefully, a better engine deal. This will not be easy as the M195B is clearly not a very competitive proposition against the newer cars with more powerful engines. Minardi is hoping that it will be able to collect some points early in the year while some of the more exotic machinery is still having reliability problems.

In pursuit of this, Minardi's current aim is to have the fastest possible drivers in the car, although this must be balanced by the need for money. The team is currently deciding whether to use Giancarlo Fisichella or Tarso Marques in the next few races. Fisichella made his debut with the team in Australia and did well outqualifying and outracing Pedro Lamy. Marques, however, did the same in South America and his qualifying performance in Argentina - a remarkable 14th on the grid - was particularly impressive. The Brazilian youngster also seems to be more likely to find money than Fisichella and so is the favorite to keep the drive. There remains a very small possibility that Japan's Taki Inoue will find the sponsorship to take the drive.

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