Marques hopes to stay in F1

SOON-TO-BE-OUSTED European Minardi driver Tarso Marques is hopeful of finding a berth elsewhere in Formula 1 next season.

He is due to be replaced by Malaysia's government-backed driver Alex Yoong as soon as he achieves a Formula 1 Superlicence - and that could well be in time for the next race in Belgium on September 2.

The Brazilian is however confident that time has not been called on his own Formula 1 career, and hopes that his management team will be able to rescue a deal somewhere in the paddock. "We are talking to some teams even to be driving still or to be an official test driver for next year," he said.

"Prost or even Arrows, there is an option still. Minardi would be an option. It all depends on the deal, if the situation is not like it is right now, to have better conditions, I'd be happy to stay," he said.

Marques is highly though t of within the Minardi team, for which he also made appearances in 1998, but financial realities have seen him run out of funds and the Malaysian government prepared to fund the man who, they believe, may stir up some much-needed interest in Formula 1 in his homeland, if the Malaysian Grand Prix is to survive.

"Yoong brought the sponsor for the team already two or three races ago so he should be in the car," said Marques. "I don't know when but I think as soon as he gets a little bit more used to it he will be driving it. We need the sponsors now and he will bring in a lot of money, it's good for the team so I think they should change."

Said Yoong: "I've got to be honest, I am bringing sponsorship to the team but every driver has to bring sponsorship, it doesn't matter how good you are. I just want the opportunity. Give me the opportunity and that's all I'm looking for here at the moment."

Yoong, who is a near-certainty for the Italian Grand Prix still has high hopes of getting in the PS01 at Spa. "I'm ready to go for Spa, I've got no problems in going for Spa," he said.

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