...as rumors fly of new recruits

SINCE Paul Stoddart took over the Minardi team at the end of January the team has been flat out trying to get everything organized to get to the first few races of the year. That has been achieved and now the European Minardi crew is looking at ways of improving the car and moving up the grid.

The new Minardi-European PS01 did not have any windtunnel testing after the end of October last year as the future of the team hung in the balance. The main priority now is to get the windtunnel work underway again and we believe that a deal has been struck by Stoddart to renew the team's use of the Fondmetal Technologies windtunnel in Casumaro, in Italy. There are long term plans for a windtunnel to be installed at the European base in Ledbury but although the building has been completed it will be around a year before the windtunnel is installed, commissioned and ready to be used.

The team is rumored to be on the verge of signing a new aerodynamicist and the stories we have heard is that this will probably be former Prost Grand Prix man Loic Bigois, although he cannot start working for the team for the moment as he is still on "gardening leave" after his split with Prost. The 40-year-old Frenchman joined the Ligier team in 1990 from the aerospace industry and stayed with the team - apart from a year at Sauber in 1995 - until he fell out with the management at the end of last year.

The Minardi team is also expected to get some new electronics engineers in the months ahead.

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