Walton joins Minardi

JOHN WALTON, the sporting director of Prost Grand Prix, has started work at Minardi where he will be the sporting director and team manager of the ambitious Ledbury operation. The 44-year-old Irishman has been with Prost since the start of 2000. Walton's F1 career dates back to the early 1980s when he was a mechanic with the Toleman F1 team. He was Ayrton Senna's mechanic in 1984 and later became chief mechanic at Benetton before moving to the new Jordan Grand Prix where in 1993 he became team manager.

He stayed with Jordan until 1996 and then moved to Arrows until the end of 1998. He spent most of 1999 in legal action with the Leafield team and then joined Prost in January 2000 as Sporting Director at the start of 2000.

Minardi had also recently taken on the highly-rated composite specialist Paul Crooks, who was previously employed at British American Racing. Crooks comes from an aeronautical background before joining Toleman. He became the team's chief composite design engineer as long ago as 1983 and has since worked for Ligier (where he became chief designer in 1992), Simtek, Ligier again, Jordan and then BAR.

Minardi is expanding fast at the moment with the new research and development center having now produced two windtunnel models of the new car - the first which is being used at the Southampton windtunnel and the second at Fondmetal Technologies in Casumaro, Italy (where Minardi shares time in the windtunnel with Renault F1).

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