SEPTEMBER 6, 2002
Minardi and Ferrari - fact and fiction
Minardi would love run Ferrari V10 engines - and a Ferrari rear end as Sauber does. Paul Stoddart would be only too pleased to put his team up into the top 10 at every Grand Prix. The only slight problem is that it costs a pile of money and Stoddart has yet to find it. A Ferrari engine deal costs - officially at least - something like $20m. Ferrari might be willing to knock the price down a bit (although it is doubtful that such a thing would ever be admitted) but the Italian team would be struggling to match the deal being offered by Cosworth Racing.
The fact that there are a lot of Minardi-Ferrari stories about is probably more to do with the negotiations over the price of a Cosworth supply than any real attempt by Stoddart to get a Ferrari deal. It is a buyer's market at the moment. Stoddart will probably end up having to pay $12m for his engines - times have moved on and engine companies realise that the old days are gone. The big issue is what specification these engines will be. At the moment a third Cosworth supply will provide (with a good chassis) the kind of performance we have seen this year from Arrows. Everyone else will, of course, have moved on a bit. A third Ferrari supply might provide a better package but would it be enough to justify the necessary investment?
Despite the appearance in Belgium of Prince Khaled Al-Waleed and the presence of a second consortium which claims to want to buy Minardi, Stoddart appears to be looking at going into 2002 on his own with money raised in conventional ways. The team has landed a decent budget from Russian firm Gazprom and is expected to retain at least some of the Malaysian money. There will also be the TV money from the Formula One Group. But this is still not enough to justify a Ferrari engine...
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