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Telefonica and Minardi

THE Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica and the Minardi team have announced their intention to work together more closely in the future - but details of the arrangement have yet to be hammered out. The announcement seems to have been made to ensure that the ongoing negotiations between the team and Supertec can be advanced so that the Minardi design team can push ahead with work on the 2000 car.

Telefonica has paid the team considerable money in sponsorship this year and it makes more sense to up the investment to own the team so that in the longer-term some of the investment can be returned by selling off the team. In the meantime the company can benefit from what will effectively be free advertising. The problem for Telefonica is whether or not it feels it wants to invest in F1 to that extent. The primary aim of the program is to increase Telefonica sales in South America.

It is nonetheless interesting that Benetton's director of operations Joan Villadelprat is leaving the team at the end of the year and has long been linked to a plan to establish a factory in Barcelona to run the cars.

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