DECEMBER 8, 2002
Albers signs for Minardi!
Despite a lot of misplaced excitement about Jos Verstappen's return to Formula 1 we hear from Germany that his fellow Dutchman Christjian Albers visited Stuttgart earlier this week to tell Mercedes-Benz racing chief Norbert Haug that he will not be racing for the company in the German Touring Car Championship next year - because he has landed a drive in F1 with Minardi. It is anticipated that the news will be announced some time this week and Albers will make his first appearance as an official Minardi driver at the forthcoming demonstration of F1 in China, which is scheduled to take place on December 15.
Albers has had close links with Minardi for the last couple of years having first driven for Paul Stoddart as Mark Webber's team mate in Formula 3000 in 2000. Since then he has been a regular test and demonstration driver for the team and so has acquired a considerable amount of mileage in F1 machinery.
It is understood that the Dutchman has found sponsorship in the region of $5m to secure the drive.