JUNE 30, 1997
Trulli replaces Panis
A competitive car and Bridgestone tires will give Trulli the opportunity to make a rapid name for himself and could result in him joining the team for 1998 - as team mate to Panis. He remains, however, under a long-term contract with Benetton, which funded his F3 program in 1996 and for which he was due to be test driver this year until Minardi was taken over by Benetton boss Flavio Briatore. The Benetton contract is believed to continue until the end of 1999. Minardi replaced Trulli with its reserve driver Tarso Marques, who drove for the Italian team at a couple of races in 1996.
There were still a few rumors in Magny-Cours that Damon Hill might somehow find his way into a Prost-Mugen Honda for the British Grand Prix but unless a deal can be hammered out in time for Damon to test at Silverstone this week it is unlikely that this will happen.