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Minardi and Ferrari

WITH Sauber looking elsewhere for engines in 1999, Ferrari will have a spare supply of customer engines available in 1999 and we hear that Minardi boss Gabriele Rumi has already begun talks to ensure that the little team from Faenza will get the V10s.

Such a deal would give the team a much better engine package than is currently the case and with some top level designers now on the Minardi staff the entire package should be competitive enough for Rumi to be able to find the money necessary to pay Ferrari for the deal. We expect that the current arrangement in Maranello would continue as with the Sauber-Petronas engines - which are simply rebadged Ferraris - reverting to their old engine covers.

Rumi and Ferrari have recently agreed to a non-poaching pact over staff. This means that Minardi is protected from raids on its personnel by Ferrari - as have often happened in the past - but at the same time has made it a lot more difficult for Rumi to find topline engineers.

We believe that Rumi is also looking very closely at the possibility of establishing a chassis-building operation in Britain, as was the case when he revamped the Osella team at the start of the 1990s. At the time he used Sergio Rinland's design office at Chessington to build his cars.

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