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Minardi poised for Supertec deal

NEVER take anything for granted, or at face value. That's the golden rule of thumb which is consistently applicable to the F1 business. The most recent development concerns Minardi, the tiny Italian team which seemed to have come to a five-year accommodation with 19-year old Spaniard Fernando Alonso.

Alonso, who finished fourth in this year's International F3000 Championship and scored a particularly impressive victory in the round supporting the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, could be Spain's first serious F1 contender in more than a generation. Minardi, keen to exploit this potential, cut a deal with the teenager's management company.

However, Minardi faces a much more fundamental problem at the present time since it hasn't got an engine deal. There are no private Cosworth V10s available for 2001 and Mugen-Honda - the other potential alternative - has finally confirmed that it is withdrawing from F1 completely.

It seems as though salvation is coming in the form of Flavio Briatore through his connections with Renault Sport. It now seems likely that fixed specification "customer" Supertec V10s could be made available to Minardi.

In exchange, so the story goes, for Briatore's management company taking over Fernando Alonso's five year contract. Yet another shrewd move by Briatore, perhaps?

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