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OCTOBER 19, 2000

Minardi insists team's future is secure

MINARDI team founder Gian Carlo Minardi has re-assured his staff by insisting that the outfit's future is secure despite the recent sponsorship withdrawal of Telefonica.

Minardi said that the Italian team are looking for other sponsors after Spanish communications giant Telefonica pulled out their backing this week.

But after media company PanAmerican Sports Network bought former chairman Gabriele Rumi's 70 per cent stake in the team last month, Minardi vowed that the future of the team is safe.

"With their (PSN) investment we are safe for next season," said Minardi. "But we will still be looking for other sponsors to make our team better. It is clear though that the sudden departure of Telefonica will have some effect on us.

"Of course, I am disappointed, but I'm still positive for next year. I don't think it will effect us financially too much. PSN and Minardi will work together on this."

Minardi refused to comment on the future of his driver Marc Gene, who is heavily backed by Telefonica and has been linked with a move to Prost.

Gene said in Malaysia on Thursday that Telefonica will continue to sponsor him, despite their announced withdrawal from Formula One.