Alonso joins Minardi for 2001

FERNANDO ALONSO has been confirmed as a European Minardi driver for the 2001 season, by his manager Adrian Campos.

Spaniard Alonso, who raced for Team Astromega in Formula 3000 last year, is contracted to Renault, but will make the step up the ladder in a loan deal with the Minardi team.

Campos confirmed: "Fernando has a long term contract with Renault, and he will race with Minardi in 2001."

Benetton Renault managing director Flavio Briatore also confirmed that the Spaniard has an arrangement with the two teams.

"Alonso has a contract," said Briatore. "If Minardi races this season, then he's racing for them."

European Minardi, who were taken over by Australian businessman Paul Stoddart last week, have refused to confirm the deal, but a spokesperson for the Italian team said an announcement will be made in the next few days.

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