Badoer for Minardi

FONDMETAL MINARDI FORD - as the team is now known - has announced that it will be running Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer this year alongside Formula 1 new boy Marc Gene. The 28-year-old Italian will remain under contract to Ferrari and if the team needs him to stand in for either Michael Schumacher or Eddie Irvine, Minardi will have to look for another driver. Minardi says that it will nominate a reserve driver shortly in case that happens.

Ferrari bosses agreed to the idea because they felt it would be good for Badoer to have racing mileage just in case he has to act as a replacement.

It will be Badoer's second stint with Minardi. The 1992 Formula 3000 Champion had a disastrous year with Scuderia Italia in 1993 and became Minardi test driver in 1994. He raced for the team in 1995 but then moved to Forti in 1996 although he was unemployed from the mid-season after the team folded. He became a Ferrari test driver in 1997.

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