JULY 5, 1999
THE British Grand Prix is traditionally the mid-season race and, more importantly, the race at which the Concorde Agreement dictates that payments for the next six months are decided upon. The system is designed so that 10 teams receive prize money and a share of the TV and travel funds. The top 10 is based on the results achieved by each team in the two previous half-seasons. To date British American Racing has not enjoyed the benefits because it had no previous results. Team boss Craig Pollock sent a letter to rival teams in March protesting this arrangement but nothing has changed so far.
At the moment nine teams have scored points while BAR's best results are one seventh (Mika Salo in Imola), one eighth (Mika Salo in Spain) and one ninth (Ricardo Zonta in France). Minardi had collected four eighths (two this year and two in the second part of 1998), two ninths and two tenths.
That means that if a Minardi finishes seventh at the British GP and BAR fails to score the new team could be bounced back to 11th place in the team rankings. That will mean no money for another six months.
A seventh place for Minardi may sound unlikely but it is worth remembering that in July 1989 the little Italian team pulled off a similar coup by finishing fifth and sixth at Silverstone, a result which pushed the Moneytron Onyx team out of the top 10.
At last week's Silverstone testing Minardi tried out a new version of the Ford Zetec-R V10 engine but unreliability meant that the team may not race the uprated engine.
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